Los Angeles Soccer: U.S. Soccer Development Academy

Chivas, Pateadores reach USSDA finals

June, 30, 2012
South Orange County's Pateadores is on target for another U.S. Soccer Development Academy championship, and Chivas USA also is in contention, both headed to Houston next month after winning their groups this week at the playoffs in Frisco, Texas.

Four other local teams -- including the Galaxy's SoCal Division champions in both age groups -- failed to advance.

Pateadores, which won the USSDA U-17/18 title last year, is one of eight finalists in the U-15/16 competition after edging Dallas Texans on goal difference to win Group 2. Chivas USA, with several players who have trained with and played for the first team in reserve and preseason matches, moves on to the U-17/18 finals after rallying for a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls in a showdown for the Group 6 crown.

Temecula-based Arsenal FC in the U-15/16 tournament and Pateadores' U-17/18 side also competed in the five-day event at FC Dallas' complex.

(Read full post)

No. 7: Academy payoffs for L.A., Chivas

December, 26, 2011

Jack McBeanBob Levey/Getty ImagesJack McBean signed as a Home Grown Player out of the Galaxy Academy.

Counting down the 11 biggest 2011 stories in Southern California soccer ...

The Galaxy won Major League Soccer's championship. Chivas USA altered its culture, probably for the better. Neither achievement is as important as the steps both clubs are taking to develop talent.

2011 was the year the local teams' emphasis on their academy programs began to make a real impact, with national championships, prosperous partnerships, advancing talent and one massive merger.

The Galaxy, with former midfielder Chris Klein in charge of the academy program, won the title, claiming the U.S. Soccer Development Academy U15/16 championship last July. Then they picked up the cream of Mission Viejo-based Pateadores' U17/18 titlists through a partnership with Todd Saldaņa's South Bay Force club. One of those pickups -- Inglewood's Jose Villarreal -- already has signed a Home Grown Player contract with L.A.'s first team, just like Newport Beach's Jack McBean, who joined the Galaxy last season at 16. More appear destined to follow.

Chivas made the bolder move, bringing in under its umbrella the Cosmos West Academy -- the New York Cosmos' Pasadena-based West Coast development center, which the prospective MVP team abandoned to align with league rules. Former pro Teddy Chronopoulos, Cosmos West's director, took charge of Chivas' program, which also benefited from the influence of first-team assistant coach Greg Vanney, who had been running Real Salt Lake's Arizona program. General manager Jose Domene declared that the Goats wanted to build the bulk of its roster, going forward, from their academy.

Both clubs have youth national team-caliber players, some plucked from top clubs in Southern California's talent-rich scene. The ability to offer professional contracts is an advantage the Galaxy and Chivas have over its local rivals.

The academy system is still in its infancy in the U.S., but it's the foundation of soccer's future in this country. The local sides were a little slow to the party -- check out what the Chicago Fire, especially, have been producing for years -- but as MLS player-acquisition rules begin to catch up with developmental philosophies, the impact will surely broaden.

YOUTH: Galaxy claim USSDA championship

July, 17, 2011

The Galaxy's academy claimed its first big prize Saturday, its under-16 team winning the championship of U.S. Soccer's Development Academy, the nation's premier youth-soccer competition.

William Raygoza (South El Monte/South El Monte HS), Justin Dhillon (Rancho Santa Margarita/Tesoro HS) and Drew Murphy (Palos Verdes/Palos Verdes HS) scored goals in a 16-minute span midway through the second half, sending the Galaxy to a 4-1 romp over PA Classics, from Manheim, Pa., in the U-15/16 title game in Milwaukee.

Jack McBean (Newport Beach/Corona del Mar HS), already a pro with L.A.'s first team, set up the second-minute opener by Sean Dhillon (Rancho Santa Margarita/Tesoro HS) and nearly scored two himself as the Galaxy completed a Southern California sweep of the USSDA championships.

Mission Viejo's Pateadores won the U-17/18 final Friday.

The Galaxy outscored four opponents, 12-2, en route to the title, with the Dhillon brothers netting three goals apiece. Justin, the younger, has featured for L.A.'s MLS Reserve League side, as have teammates Grady Howe (Newport Beach/Corona del Mar HS) and Matt Tilley (Irvine/Irvine HS).

Woodland Hills-based Real So Cal lost on penalties, 8-7, to Real Salt Lake AZ after a 0-0 draw in the third-place game.

Another team from Real So Cal -- girls under-16 -- reached the Elite Clubs National League title game for its division in Aurora, Colo. CASL Chelsea FC of Raleigh, N.C. won, 4-1, in Saturday's match.

The U.S. Youth Soccer Association's national championships, which run July 27-31 in Phoenix, will feature four local clubs: Fullerton Rangers in the boys U-14 division, Alta Loma's Arsenal FC in girls U-14, Newport Beach-based Slammers FC in girls U-15 and San Juan Capistrano-based So Cal Blues in girls U-17.

YOUTH: Pateadores win USSDA title

July, 15, 2011
Pateadores' roller-coaster of a season finished with a national championship, a conclusion that was nearly unthinkable just two months ago.

Jose Villareal (Lawndale/Leuzinger HS) scored two superb goals, with an 81st-minute winner, to lead the Mission Viejo-based club to a 2-1 triumph over FC Dallas in Friday's U-17/18 title game at the U.S. Soccer Development Academy finals in Milwaukee.

The victory was Pateadores' 14th in its last 16 matches and completed a turnaround after forfeits in May dropped the club from first to sixth place -- and virtually out of the playoff race -- in the SoCal Division, the toughest in the Development Academy.

Former UCLA coach Todd Saldaņa and his assistant, former U.S. national team captain Thomas Dooley, turned Pateadores' top academy side into a winner after it went winless in divisional play the previous season. The Orange Countians needed a late thrust after forfeiting 16 points acquired in 11 games with two ineligible players -- both had junior college experience -- in what the club called an administrative error.

They won eight of nine to climb back into a tie for the top spot, survived qualifying in Frisco, Texas, to reach the USSDA finals, and went 3-0-1 in Milwaukee to claim the title.

Villareal bent a free kick from 25 yards around the wall and into the left corner to provide Pateadores a ninth-minute lead Friday at Marquette University, and he wrapped up the win by taking a pass from Irvin Parra-Anaya off his chest, turning and firing inside the left post from 18 yards.

Bryan Leyva, a Mexican forward who is signed to FC Dallas' professional team, scored in the 62nd minute for the Hoops, who were down to 10 men after Danny Garcia received his second yellow card in the 58th.

The Galaxy will look to make it a So Cal sweep Saturday night when they face PA Classics, from Manheim, Pa., in the U-15/16 title game.

YOUTH: Galaxy cruises into USSDA final

July, 15, 2011

Jack McBean and Justin Dhillon hit the net again Thursday, and the Galaxy charged into the U-15/16 title game at the U.S. Soccer Development Academy finals in Milwaukee.

McBean (Newport Beach/Corona del Mar HS), who is already a pro, Dhillon (Rancho Santa Margarita/Tesoro HS) and Sebastian Velasquez (Los Angeles) scored second-half goals as L.A.'s academy team routed the Seattle Sounders', 3-0, to advance to Saturday's title game against Manheim, Pa.-based PA Classics at Marquette University.

Real So Cal, from Woodland Hills, finished second in Group after beating the Dallas Texans, 2-0, and will face Real Salt Lake AZ in the U-15/16 third-place game.

Mission Viejo's Pateadores are playing FC Dallas in Friday's U-17/18 championship.

Velasquez gave the Galaxy a 49th-minute lead and Dhillon made it 2-0 eight minutes later, firing in off the post after rebounding his shot off the crossbar. McBean added the third two minutes later.

Dhillon, who has played in the MLS Reserve League, and McBean scored in Tuesday's 4-0 rout of the Texans.

Angel Fernandez (Woodland Hills/El Camino Real HS) scored for the second straight game for Real So Cal, providing a 12th-minute advantage. Daniel Dannas (Thousand Oaks/Thousand Oaks HS) converted a penalty kick early in the second half for the second goal.

YOUTH: Pateadores reach USSDA 17/18 final

July, 14, 2011

Pateadores scored twice in the final three minutes before stoppage Wednesday, dramatically claiming a berth in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-17/18 title game by the slimmest of margins.

The Mission Viejo-based club's 4-2 victory at the USSDA finals in Milwaukee was just enough to top the Dallas Texans for the No. 1 spot in their group and set up a championship game Friday with FC Dallas' academy side at Marquette University. ESPNU will televise it at 10 a.m. PT.

Pateadores, guided by former UCLA coach Todd Saldaņa, was all but out of the title chase as its group-stage finale against New Jersey's PDA headed into the 88th minute. The score was tied, 2-2, and the Texans were up, 3-0, on the New York Red Bulls in the other Group A clash, which had started at the same time.

Maxwell Bauman (Manhattan Beach/Mira Costa HS) headed home a corner kick by Jose Villareal (Lawndale/Leuzinger HS) in the 88th minute for a 3-2 lead, but Pateadores (2-0-1) needed another goal to catch up to the Texans, whose goal difference (plus-4) was better than the Orange Countians' (plus-3). That strike came in the 90th from Roberto Escudero (Placentia/Valencia HS), an open-netter after Irvin Parra-Anaya swiftly fed him after collecting his own rebound.

Pateadores finished first by scoring seven goals, one more than did the Texans (2-0-1).

Parra-Anaya had two first-half goals, both from superb passes by captain Jose Rivera (Torrance/Torrance HS), but PDA (0-3-0) twice rallied to tie, the second time on Noah Sadaoui's goal in the 81st minute.

FC Dallas, part of the Major League Soccer club's academy program, went 2-0-1 in Group B.

YOUTH: McBean puts Galaxy on top

July, 13, 2011

The best-compensated player on the field made the biggest difference for the Galaxy on Tuesday at U.S. Soccer's Development Academy finals in Milwaukee.

Forward Jack McBean, who in January signed a professional contract with the club, scored one goal and set up another with a sensational run in a 4-0 rout over the Dallas Texans that leaves the Galaxy 80 minutes from a title-game appearance.

Sean Dhillon (Rancho Santa Margarita/Tesoro HS) scored two goals and his brother, Justin, added another as L.A. improved to 1-0-1 in the U-15/16 Division. A win or draw Thursday against the Seattle Sounders (1-0-1) will send the Galaxy to the final in youth soccer's premier national competition.

Real So Cal (0-1-1) was eliminated from the U-15/16 title chase with a 2-1 loss to the Sounders. Angel Fernandez (Woodland Hills/El Camino Real HS) headed in a cross from Richard Martinez (Santa Monica/Santa Monica HS) to give the Woodland Hills-based club a lead at the start of the second half, but goals by Austin Sweeney and Ian Lange lifted Seattle.

Mission Viejo-based Pateadores (1-0-1) remain atop Group A in the U-17/18 Division after a scoreless draw Monday with the 10-man Dallas Texans (1-0-1). Jose Villareal (Lawndale/Leuzinger HS) hit the post with eight minutes to go for the Pateadores, who finish group play Wednesday against New Jersey's PDA.

Goal difference could determine who goes to the final. Pateadores (plus-2) is ahead of the Texans (plus-1), who finish against the New York Red Bulls (1-1-0).

Major League Soccer's development initiative has spurred every club to begin (or plan) an academy program, and the Galaxy's is beginning to produce. McBean (Newport Beach/Corona del Mar HS) signed through MLS's Home Grown Player mechanism, for academy players, and is making $76,000 in guaranteed compensation, according to the MLS Players Union.

McBean, who just finished his sophomore year of high school, won't be 17 until December.

(Read full post)

YOUTH: Pateadores open DA finals with win

July, 11, 2011

Mission Viejo-based Pateadores opened U.S. Soccer's Development Academy finals in Milwaukee with a victory, and Southern California's other two entrants -- the Galaxy and Real So Cal -- played to a draw.

Pateadores started U-17/18 play Saturday with a 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls as Jackson McCracken (Manhattan Beach/Mira Costa HS) and Jose Rivera (Torrance/Torrance HS) scored on long-range blasts four minutes apart late in the game.

The Galaxy and Woodland Hills-based Real So Cal finished 1-1 in their opener Sunday in the U-15/16 division. Guatemalan forward Ludwing Vargas (Los Angeles/Salesian HS) gave the Galaxy a 34th-minute lead, and Real So Cal defender Brandon Vincent (Santa Clarita/West Ranch HS) evened the scoreline in the 68th.

Pateadores counted on goalkeeper Jose Cervantes (Lennox/Animo Leadership HS) to keep things even, making three diving or one-on-one stops, before Loyola Marymount-bound McCracken cracked a 25-yarder that fluttered in off Red Bulls goalkeeper Jake Wagmeister's hands in the 76th minute. Rivera's swerving 30-yarder made it 2-0 in the 80th.

“The second half we showed a little bit more of our quality,” Pateadores coach Todd Saldaņa said in U.S. Soccer's news release. “In the second half we made a commitment to make sure we didn't get scored on and hoped as time went on the goal would come.

“Obviously, in an event like this, where you want to get to a final, the first three points and getting off to a good start gives you a lot of confidence the rest of the way.”

Pateadores plays Monday against the Dallas Texans, who topped New Jersey's PDA in the other U-17/18 Group A game. On Tuesday, the Galaxy faces the Dallas Texans and Real So Cal meets the Seattle Sounders. The Texans and Sounders drew, 1-1, in the other U-15/16 Group A game.

The tournament runs through Saturday.

YOUTH: Three L.A. teams to Academy finals

June, 29, 2011
Three Southern California teams are among 16 to advance to next month's U.S. Soccer Development Academy championships after winning qualifying groups in Frisco, Texas.

The Galaxy and Woodland Hills-based Real So Cal will play in the under-15/16 tournament July 9-16 in Milwaukee, and Mission Viejo-based Pateadores will compete in the under-17/18 championships.

Pateadores, guided by former UCLA coach Todd Saldaņa (and with former U.S. national team captain and National Soccer Hall of Famer Thomas Dooley on staff), won all three of its games at FC Dallas' Pizza Hut Park complex, with Lawndale's Jose Villareal (Leuzinger HS) scoring in each match.

The Galaxy also went 3-0-0 -- with wins over fellow MLS clubs Sporting Kansas City's and Houston Dynamo's academy sides -- behind Rancho Santa Margarita's Justin Dhillon (Tesoro HS) scoring four goals, with a hat trick in a 4-1 rout of Bradenton, Fla.-based IMG Soccer Academy. (Dhillon also has played for the Galaxy's reserve team this year.) The Galaxy is coached by UCLA assistant coach Kenny Arena, a former MLS midfielder and the son of Bruce Arena.

Real So Cal, which made it to the U-17/18 finals last year, went 2-0-1 in Frisco after finishing fifth in the So Cal Division, won by the Galaxy, during the regular season. Woodland Hills' Steve Manios (El Camino Real HS) scored twice for the club, which is coached by Cal State Northridge head coach Terry Davila.