[USL PRO 2014 COUNTDOWN]The LA Galaxy has formed LA Galaxy II to compete in USL PRO, making it the first MLS club to own and operate a lower division professional team within the club’s player development structure. Curt Onalfo will be the head coach of LA Galaxy II.
Onalfo, who was a Galaxy assistant coach, will call in players from the Galaxy's first team. What will be unique is that the team will allow the Galaxy to call up academy players to play in USL PRO without jeopardizing their college eligibility.
LA Galaxy II will train and play all of its home games at the Galaxy's home, StubHub Center, in Carson, Calif. Galaxy season-ticket holders will receive Galaxy II season tickets as a membership benefit.
“The LA Galaxy are taking a monumental step for player development in North America,” said Galaxy president Chris Klein. “The creation of LA Galaxy II, through USL PRO, provides the Galaxy with a fully realized player development program starting with the Under-12 Academy teams through the LA Galaxy first team. The investment of AEG and the Galaxy in LA Galaxy II allows us to continue to develop the best players in Southern California and lessen the gap between the Academy and the LA Galaxy.”
Other MLS clubs are exploring the concept and expected to launch full-fledged second teams in USL PRO next season. Ten MLS clubs have affiliate agreements with USL PRO clubs.
“We are thrilled to welcome LA Galaxy II into USL PRO as our newest expansion club,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “Entering the second season of our partnership with Major League Soccer, the addition of LA Galaxy II into our competition is an exciting development for all the league’s stakeholders and fortifies our continued efforts to remain the strongest league below and in support of MLS on and off the field.”
The 2014 season schedule has not yet been released. USL PRO will operate with 14 teams, one more than in 2013. The three new teams are Sacramento Republic FC, OKC Energy FC and Galaxy II. Two teams are not back in 2014: Antigua Barracuda FC and VSI Tampa Bay.
MLS in USL PRO:
LA Galaxy/La Galaxy II
Sporting KC/Orlando City-OKC Energy FC