Published: January 18, 2012
Could the U18 LA Galaxy squad be any more like their MLS affiliate?
The senior Galaxy is the glamour club of the MLS, elevated by the star power of their three designated players.
As for the Development Academy’s Galaxy, well, they might have nearly as many pros as their senior team.
With homegrown signings like Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal, rumored international pros like Raul Mendiola and U.S. Youth National Team stars Mario Rodriguez and Nathan Smith, the Galaxy are the Beatles of the SoCal Division.
They know it, and so does their competition.
“They are a star-studded team,” said Jack Gorab of Pateadores. “I think the fact that some of their players are experiencing some time in the pros is really cool and it gives an idea of a benchmark that we should be at.”
The Galaxy, which captured the U16 National title last season, is off to a 7-0-2 start to the season – how’s that for a benchmark?
And even with pro players shuffling in and out of the lineup, and the departure of Mendiola overseas, the team still feels it has a ways to go.
“Yes, we've had a good run of form so far, but this team has endless possibilities of where it can go,” said Galaxy veteran Drew Murphy. “So far, this is the most talented team (I’ve been on). With such great players, it does nothing but good to the team. The competing within the team has a positive impact.”
But before we crown them the Dream Team and hand them the SoCal Division, we should probably be warned that the rest of the region isn’t prepared to lie down so easily.
In the season’s early going, second-place Chivas USA (6-3-1) has proved a dangerous attacking squad and there’s certainly enough talent spread throughout the division to make it a competition and not a coronation.
“We are all top players and there are plenty of guys on our team that could sign a contract at other clubs,” warned Real Salt Lake’s Cole Nagy. “LA’s talent is obvious, but we have to focus on what we can control.”
One thing the other clubs can’t control is the recruiting power of the Galaxy. They’ve got the name, the location and the resources.
Not to mention the admiration of more than a few players who line up against them.
“They play like Barcelona,” said San Diego Surf’s Jared Hegardt, giving them the ultimate compliment. “Every player on their team is very good. I wish I could say that we could catch up to them but it would certainly be hard. I think very highly of them.”