The Galaxy have signed one of their Home Grown Player targets, 18-year-old midfielder Jose Villarreal. He's in his first season in the Galaxy Academy after helping Pateadores, a south Orange County club, to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-17/18 title in July.
Villarreal (Inglewood/Leuzinger HS) was part of the U.S. under-23 national team's camp last month in Germany and has played for the U.S. under-18 team.
“He has a tremendous amount of promise and potential, and we’re excited that he’ll be able to continue his development with the first team,” Chris Klein, a former Galaxy midfielder who is senior director of the club's academy program, said in a news release.
Villarreal, in the same release: “It’s been my dream ever since I was little to be a professional soccer player, so to be able to do that and stay close to home so that I can play in front of my family and friends is a dream come true. Growing up here in the area, I’ve always watched the Galaxy and been a fan of the team, so this will be a great experience for me.”
He's the third Galaxy signing under MLS's Home Grown Player mechanism, which permits clubs to sign players from their academies. Tristan Bowen (Van Nuys) was the first, in 2008, and forward Jack McBean (Newport Beach/Corona del Mar HS), who last week turned 17, joined the first team last year.
The Galaxy also have offered a Home Grown Player contract to defender Javan Torre (Santa Monica/Crossroads HS), according to a source familiar with the situation.