LA Galaxy II's Junior Gonzalez to fill in as head coach at U.S. U-17 camp

Two U.S. youth national teams will be part of a four-team tournament Nov. 9-19 in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. Junior Gonzalez, the interim coach of LA Galaxy II of the USL Championship, will serve as head coach of a team of 2002s, comprised of U-17 players who weren't part of the USA's 2019 U-17 World Cup roster. Gonzalez, and assistant coaches Chris Martinez and Eric Quill, were brought to fill in for U-17 coach Raphael Wicky  and his staff, whom U.S. Soccer had hoped would be occupied with the U.S. U-17s in Brazil. However, they exited in the first round.

The U.S. U-16s will be coached by Larry Sunderland and assisted by Cristiano Scopolo. Chris Sharpe and Josh Ford will be goalkeeper coaches of the U-17s and U-16s, respectively. They will face the Netherlands and Turkey.

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A U.S. Soccer spokesman said the use of a coaching staff different from Wicky and his crew for the Florida tournament does not indicate that Wicky, the Swiss who was hired in March, will be leaving his post.

Gonzalez, a Southern California product whose playing career included winning the 1997 NCAA title with UCLA under Coach Sigi Schmid, replaced Mike Munoz as Galaxy II head coach in July. Gonzalez initially joined the Galaxy in November of 2017 after serving as head coach of the USL's Rio Grande Valley FC Toros. He also coached in the Seattle Sounders academy, was a Sounders FC S2 assistant, and was a head coach of UC Riverside. In 2013 he served as Chivas USA assistant coach. His previous work with U.S. Soccer included assisting with U-15s and serving as scout at the 2015 U-17 World Cup in Chile.

Quill guided FC Dallas affiliate North Texas SC to 2019 USL League One title in October and Texans SC Houston to the 2017 Development Academy U-17/18 national championship title. Quill had served as Dave van den Bergh's assistant with the U.S. U-15s and with the U-17s when Van den Bergh headed the U-17s in the wake of the departures of John Hackworth and Shaun Tsakiris, before the hiring of Wicky.

Martinez, like Quill a former MLS player, is assistant coach of Sporting Kansas City’s USL Championship affiliate Swope Park Rangers. He was previously the Colorado Rapids Development Academy Director and academy director of Real Colorado.

Sunderland, the Portland Timbers Academy Technical Director, coached the U.S. U-16s in March at a tournament in the Czech Republic and at a September camp in Southern California. He was assisted at both events by Scapolo, who has worked in the LAFC academy.

Sharpe, an Australia native, is the Colorado Rapids' assistant and goalkeeper coach, and academy goalkeeper director.

Ford, an England native who played college ball at UConn, is assistant and goalkeeper coach of the Seattle Sounders' USL Championship affiliate Tacoma Defiance.

The coaches are working on a per diem basis for U.S. Soccer, for whom Wicky is the only full-time youth national team coach. U.S. Soccer is expected to release the U.S. rosters on Thursday.

2 comments about "LA Galaxy II's Junior Gonzalez to fill in as head coach at U.S. U-17 camp".
  1. R2 Dad, November 5, 2019 at 11:42 p.m.

    I'm curious how this is handled: "a team of 2002s, comprised of U-17 players who weren't part of the USA's 2019 U-17 World Cup roster." Who picks them? Does the new coach get a say in this process? Does the current Nats regime do all the selecting and then hand it over to a new coach--in this case Junior Gonzalez--to make the best of the lot that is handed to them? How is formation and player selection determined? We all know there are lots of players out there who are not brought in to these camps because they're too short/too skinny/too slow but are maybe excellent goalscorers/great on the dribble/high soccer IQ. How come we don't know anything about the selection process? What are the Nats values regarding skills, touch, vision, and how is that prioritized vs speed and height and other metrics? Seems to me they've been coming up bagels recently and should be interested in Best Practices. Carlos Cordeiro is a banker/powerpoint jockey, he should at least be familiar with the concept of Best Practices of other FAs and how we might adapt those processes to this country. The lack of transparency is not acceptable for a supposedly first world country. I'm tired of watching Groundhog Day--the USSF Version.

  2. Hat Trick, November 6, 2019 at 10:51 p.m.

    This is exactly what happens when you don’t have a plan B.  We didn’t have a plan A evidently.  How do you think this group of kids that are being brought in feel about this situation.  Stand in coach, real coach is not going to b involved so what happens now.  You talk about an atmosphere of confidence.

    There is an old Abbot and Costello routine called who’s on first.  This is it.  Most of you on here are too young to know what I am talking about.  Look it up and you will see.

    Until we find out not so much what players are being called in but where they play is going to be interesting.

    Anything can be fixed.  If you have the right people and right tools hat is.

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