Behind every great football club, there is a foundation that helps sustain its relevance by fostering talent thru its ranks as they become future stars. LAFC is mimicking some of the great clubs in the world today by establishing its Academy foundation.
Barcelona‘s most celebrated La Masia academy is one that immediately stands out, but other prominent clubs like Ajax (Netherlands), Bayern Munich (Germany) and Manchester United (England) have outstanding minor league systems as well.
Los Angeles Football Club is laying down the groundwork for future generations as they have added two more academy age groups U-13 and U-14 to the already existing U-12 youth academy bringing a total of three for the 2017-18 Academy season. LAFC also announced the hiring of its coaching staff for the developmental program.
“The establishment of our LAFC Academy is a critical component of our soccer operation,” said John Thorrington, Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations. “Ownership has shown great commitment to help us achieve our goal to develop world-class players and people. I’m confident that our new coaching team has the requisite experience, expertise, and passion to match our ambitious plans.”
The six-member staff consists of Academy coaches Fabian Sandoval, Cristiano Scapolo, Luciano Fusco, Head Goalkeeper coach Neil Thompson, Academy Development coach Joe Pehanich and Enrique Duran who is the Player Development and Methodology Advisor. Each member boasts plenty of experience from across the globe and will input their knowledge to all the Academies which is something the club is looking forward to.
“We could not be more proud of the quality and diversity of the coaches we recruited to the Academy at such an exciting time in our club’s growth,” said Todd Saldana, LAFC Academy Director. “Their experience and success both on and off the field will provide our players with the support they will need to develop into elite soccer players.”
The ambitious MLS club is ramping up their program ahead of their 2018 Major League Soccer debut by building an exciting franchise in a very competitive Los Angeles sports market. A brand new soccer-specific stadium, over 14-thousand originals and plenty of star power in their management group has the city of L.A. already buzzing.
Meanwhile this past Saturday, the future makings of a LA Soccer rivalry took place as the LAFC U-12s took on the LA Galaxy Academy at StubHub Center. With the two new age groups coming together look for more highly-competitive matches between the city rivals at the Academy level.