LA Galaxy launch fully-funded Girls Development Academy teams
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (via LA Galaxy) – The LA Galaxy announced on Tuesday that the club has launched girls’ Under-14/15, U-16/17 and U-18/19 academy teams that will compete in the U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy League, which is set to begin in the fall of 2017.
The LA Galaxy Girls’ Academy teams will be the first and only Girls’ Academy program to be fully-funded by a Major League Soccer side, allowing talented local athletes to join free of charge.
“The LA Galaxy want to continue to invest in and lead the development of youth soccer in North America in every facet,” said Galaxy president Chris Klein in the club’s press release. “Adding an Academy program for girls is a huge step for this club in order to continue that investment. We are thrilled to launch this program and provide a structure for young girls to grow and develop in a professional environment free of charge.”
Each team will consist of up to 23 players from within a 75 mile radius of StubHub Center, home of the Galaxy. With their inclusion, the LA Galaxy now have created multiple possibilities for girls across Southern California to compete in the U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy League, by complimenting their alliance youth club, LA Galaxy San Diego, who have already been admitted to the Development Academy program.
StubHub Center will now house the LA Galaxy, LA Galaxy II, LA Galaxy Academy boys and girls teams and the LA Galaxy Blended Learning Program, which will all operate within the stadium facilities.
“Creating teams that will compete in the U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy League is a fantastic step that will allow the LA Galaxy to help maximize female youth player development,” said Galaxy VP of Soccer Operations Pete Vagenas. “With three Galaxy Girls’ Academy teams at StubHub Center, in addition to our existing strategic alliance clubs LA Galaxy San Diego, LA Galaxy South Bay, LA Galaxy Bakersfield and LA Galaxy Conejo Valley, we have positioned ourselves to develop players across all of Southern California.”
The teams will train at StubHub Center four times each week while playing their matches in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy League throughout the region.
“I am excited the LA Galaxy will be part of the Developmental Academy,” said Sydney Sharp, an LA Galaxy South Bay member. “I have been part of LA Galaxy South Bay since I was eight and I know the LA Galaxy will help me be the best player I can be. I look forward to competing with the best players in the country and finishing my recruiting process as a member of the LA Galaxy.”
Competitively, the program competition will feature local and regional matches as well as regional and national events with playing rules based on international standards, e.g., no re-entry, limited substitutions and proper rest and recovery periods. The season will be structured over a 10-month period and as in the Boys’ Development Academy, the clubs will be organized by divisions and conferences with national and/or regional events incorporated into the overall program.
The U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy League focuses on positively impacting everyday club environments to maximize elite female youth player development. Increasing the training-to-game ratio, playing fewer but more meaningful games and providing assistance for coaching education and development are some of the standards and best practices the program has promised to promote.