Commentary

LA Galaxy adds high school to Academy program

By Mike Woitalla

The Los Angeles Galaxy is launching high school education program for its Development Academy players.

Starting with 2015 fall school semester, the Blended Learning program at the StubHub Center puts the Academy players on the same training schedule as the LA Galaxy first team and LA Galaxy II, the club’s USL team.

“[It] allows the student-athletes who make up our Academy to train at the same time and facilities as Galaxy professionals while still participating in full academic curriculum to receive their education,” said LA Galaxy president Chris Klein said in a press release. “These elite players can now effectively develop on and off the field within the same professional environment as the LA Galaxy.”

The high-school education program will be housed in classrooms on the Cal State Dominguez Hills campus at StubHub Center. It offers full-time, credentialed educators as personal counselors and tutors for each student-athlete, plus an online-based program as the guiding curriculum.

Students will arrive at StubHub Center in the morning as do LA Galaxy and LA Galaxy II players to train and will have access to the same locker rooms, fitness equipment, weight room and meals. Studies take place in the afternoon, “offering specific academic curriculum and additional tailored nutritional, performance and athletic education sessions.”

Of the Development Academy clubs that provide its players with high school programs, IMG (Bradenton, Fla.), Shattuck-St. Mary’s (Faribault, Minn.) and Real Salt Lake AZ (Casa Grande, Ariz.) are residency programs.

FC Dallas started partnering with the Frisco Independent School District in 2010, enabling FC Dallas Academy players outside the district to attend school in Frisco in the afternoon so they could train in the morning, the optimal time for practice in Texas weather but also coordinating the Academy players’ schedule with the first team.

The Philadelphia Union opened a high school -- the YSC Academy in an office complex across the street from its youth development training center -- in 2013. Its first class, of nine seniors, graduated last May. As is the case with FC Dallas, some of the players commute from their homes in the area while a few board with host families.

The Galaxy has already signed 15 of its Academy products to professional contracts, including Gyasi Zardes, Jose Villarreal and Bradford Jamieson.

Galaxy technical director Jovan Kirovski is famous for having left his Southern California home at age 16 in 1992 to join Manchester United’s youth program. He became one of the few Americans who went abroad as a teen and succeeded in having a long career in Europe.

"I didn't have MLS as an option," Kirovski says. "Things would have been very different if I had the kind of opportunity what we provide our kids at the Galaxy.

“I think what we have here is a better path to success [than going abroad]. Our kids are close to their families. They’re in a fantastic environment and we as a staff are invested in these kids. We want these kids to succeed. As a kid, I felt up against it when I was in England. We have a structure and an environment in place where these kids can really succeed.”

U.S. U-17 girls continue prep for qualifiers

With qualifying play for the 2016 U-17 Women’s World Cup seven months away, U.S. U-17 girls national team coach B.J. Snow has called up 24 players for an Aug. 9-16 training camp in Carson, Calif.

Sixteen of the players were born in 1999, which is the age cut-off year for the next U-17 World Cup. The remaining eight players were born in 2000.

U.S. U-17 girls national team roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Hillary Beall (West Coast FC; Laguna Beach, Calif.), Brooke Bollinger (Space Coast United; Indialantic, Fla.).
DEFENDERS (8): Kerry Abello (Team Chicago; Aurora, IL.), Chyanne Dennis (Lauderhill Lions; Sunrise, Fla.), Naomi Girma (Central Valley Crossfire; San Jose, Calif.), Shae Holmes (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Karlie Paschall (Tennessee SC; Brentwood, Tenn.), Kiara Pickett (Eagles SC; Santa Barbara, Calif.), Karina Rodriguez (SoCal Blues; Torrance, Calif.), Sydney Zandi (Penn Fusion; West Chester, Pa.).
MIDFIELDERS (7): Coriana Dyke (Colorado Rush; Littleton, Colo.), Emina Ekic (Javanon; Fairdale, Ky.), Jaelin Howell (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.), Brianna Pinto (CASL; Durham, N.C.), Taryn Torres (Solar-Chelsea SC; Frisco, Texas), Olivia Wade (LaRoca FC; Kaysville, Utah), Summer Yates (Pac NW; Pasco, Wash.).
FORWARDS (7): McKinley Burkett (Richmond United; Moseley, Va.), Rachael Dorwart (PA Classics; Mechanicsburg, Pa.), Rachel Jones (Tophat SC; Lawrenceville, Ga.), Civana Kuhlmann (Colorado Rush; Littleton, Colo.), Alexa Spaanstra (Michigan Hawks; Brighton, Mich.), Francesca Tagliaferri (PDA; Colts Neck, NJ.), Jordan Taylor (Ohio Premier Eagles; Wadsworth, Ohio).

Clarification

Our July 14 Youth Soccer Insider referred to a U.S. Soccer National Signing Day press release from February that listed college commitments by two IMG players. In fact, IMG's final college commitment list for 2014-2015 is comprised of 17 players. "Since 2009, more than 98% of IMG Academy student-athletes have gone on to college, with more than 60 percent earning scholarship opportunities to play at the Division I level, with 30 percent earning a place at schools ranked in U.S. News & World Report's Top 100," says IMG Technical Director Kevin Hartman.

1 comment about "LA Galaxy adds high school to Academy program ".
  1. Ric Fonseca, August 5, 2015 at 5:37 p.m.

    Kudos to the LAG! As a retired teacher/college professor, I've always wondered just how the clubs were handling the young athlete's education attainment/processes, since in California education is mandatory K-12, however, I sincerely hope that the administrative staff and teachers are up to snuff, are paid a decent salary (LA is one of the most expensive areas to live in) and have/are following the state mandated curriculum. Lastly, will they be affiliated to a local school district, or become a charter school, or a private school? Just saying and wondering!

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