Galaxy announce new youth program

CARSON, CA - The Los Angeles Galaxy and Coast Soccer League (CSL), along with Cal South announced today a unique program for select boys and girls soccer players throughout the area, called the Premier Development Program (PDP). The 2004 PDP program begins June 9, finishes in mid-November and will offer 30 spots for both boys and girls in each of the following age groups; U-16, U-17 and U-19. Club coaches will nominate their players and a selection committee will finalize rosters, which will be continually upgraded and changed throughout the year based on performance.

"Southern California currently has the best youth systems in America for developing players and the Galaxy is not looking to reinvent the wheel, instead we want to augment an already successful environment," said L.A. Galaxy President and General Manager Doug Hamilton. "We wanted to supply additional resources for the very elite player. Southern California has always been a breeding ground for talented soccer players, many of whom have gone on to play in Major League Soccer and for our national teams. Because of their success at the highest levels, we have seen the potential that such a program can foster."

The innovative PDP has one main objective: To scout, identify and train the best young players in Southern California while exposing them to the best training and competition in a professional environment that will allow for maximum player development. In addition, one of the unique features of the program is that the PDP is absolutely free of any costs to the players selected to participate.

"CSL in conjunction with Cal South, and the Galaxy want to deliver a tremendous amount of technical and tactical information to elite players and the opportunity to play against some of the best competition in the world. In addition, the goal was to keep the cost at very reasonable level where all can participate while helping players keep all of their commitments to their clubs," said CSL Chairman Gary Sparks. "We became involved because we wanted our players to get the very best training they possibly can and make sure that money was not a factor in developing their skills."

Highlights of this summer's program include:

• Weekly training sessions conducted by local professional and college coaches.

• Two (2) one-week long camps conducted by the youth directors of Chelsea FC and Sao Paulo FC.

• A four-day college coaches camp featuring the top men and women's college coaches.

• Speed, power and quickness training provided by Athletes Performance Institute.

• Opportunities to travel and compete against other MLS youth teams.

• All equipment and apparel will be provided to each player at no cost with the exception of cleats.

"Right now this is all about the greater good of the player," added Hamilton. "The PDP gives us the opportunity to not only identify the best kids earlier, but also show them the promise of our sport in America."

The program will provide the highest level of training session for players, as well as continuously updating the player pool with only top quality talent. Galaxy Director of Youth Development Ralph Perez and Galaxy Ambassador Mauricio Cienfuegos will both be scouring Southern California's fields for the best prospects. The PDP is also strongly committed to reaching out to the Hispanic leagues and communities where Perez and Cienfuegos have strong ties to ensure equal access to this groundbreaking program.

The Galaxy, CSL and Cal South understand the value in creating this program and that it will offer valuable exposure to all of Southern California's exceptional youth soccer talent. Already, CSL and Cal South currently have eight alumni playing with the 2002 MLS Cup Champions, including Cobi Jones, Jovan Kirovski, Kevin Hartman, Danny Califf, Peter Vagenas, Sasha Victorine, Arturo Torres and Guillermo Gonzalez. CSL and Cal South have also produced a total of 12 players; (6) Men and (6) Women on the last respective World Cup squads. The following is a list of all former CSL and Cal South players from the 2002 and 2003 U.S. World Cup teams: Landon Donovan, Frankie Hejduk, Cobi Jones, Eddie Lewis, Joe-Max Moore, John O'Brien, Kylie Bivens, Shannon Boxx, Joy Fawcett, Julie Foudy, Shannon MacMillan, and Aly Wagner.

"Cal South is committed to creating opportunities for our players, and both the association as a whole and Cal South ODP are looking forward to partnering with the Premier Development Program so that we can continue our leadership role in both player development and identification," said Cal South President Rod Short. "The PDP program will create an excellent opportunity for the players participating to be exposed to high level coaching staff and competition, which will provide a positive experience for them and works well with our goal of identifying players that will eventually make it to the national teams. So, we believe this is a good fit."

In addition, the PDP program will receive funding and support from The Home Depot and Nike (equipment and apparel supplier).

The CSL is one of the premier leagues in Southern California, boasting 1900 teams, over 160 clubs and more than 30,000 players who will participate in over 15,500 games played on 400 fields. The Board of Directors and staff, Age Coordinators, Referee Assignors, Club Administrators, Team Administrators, Bracket Scorekeepers, League Cup Scorekeepers - over 2000 dedicated people, mostly volunteers, are involved in CSL. For more information please visit www.coastsoccer.com.

From the first CYSA SOUTH AGM, Cal South has developed programs and initiatives to set it apart from other soccer organizations and youth sport groups. With programs for athletes with physical disabilities (Cal South Soccer TOPSoccer - "The Outreach Program of Soccer"), recreational players (Tide American Cup), competitive athletes (The US Youth Soccer National Championship Series), elite athletes (Cal South Olympic Development Program) and youth soccer educators (Coaches Connection) - Cal South is the choice of America's youth soccer athlete, coach, referee and administrator.

The Los Angeles Galaxy return to The Home Depot Center on Saturday, June 12 at 1 pm against Ante Razov and the 2003 Eastern Conference Champion Chicago Fire. The match will air live on ESPN2's Radio Shack Soccer Saturday. The match also marks the next chance this season for fans to purchase a Los Angeles Times Galaxy Family Pack. For as a little as $52, a family of four gets four match tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas and a Los Angeles Times newspaper. To take advantage of this exciting offer, please call the Galaxy ticket office at 1-877-3GALAXY.


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