The LA Galaxy will become the first MLS team to form their own USL PRO franchise, and it will have a pretty familiar name.
The Galaxy announced Wednesday that they have formed the LA Galaxy II, which will be owned and operated within the club’s player development structure and begin competition in the upcoming 2014 season. LA become the first MLS team to field their own USL PRO side, while most MLS clubs have formed player development partnerships with existing USL PRO franchises for the upcoming season.
“The LA Galaxy are taking a monumental step for player development in North America,” Galaxy president Chris Klein said in a statement. “The creation of LA Galaxy II, through USL PRO, provides the Galaxy with a fully realized player development program starting with the Under-12 Academy teams through the LA Galaxy first team. The investment of [Galaxy owner] AEG and the Galaxy in LA Galaxy II allows us to continue to develop the best players in Southern California and bridge the gap between the Academy and the LA Galaxy.”
Curt Onalfo, a former MLS player and Galaxy assistant coach since 2011, has been promoted to head coach of LA Galaxy II, which will train and play all of their home matches at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
The new team will provide playing time and development opportunities for players within the LA Galaxy development structure. The USL PRO side will play a 28-game season and will feature LA Galaxy first-team players, players signed by Galaxy II and LA Galaxy Academy players.
“We are thrilled to welcome LA Galaxy II into USL PRO as our newest expansion club,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said in a statement. “Entering the second season of our partnership with Major League Soccer, the addition of LA Galaxy II into our competition is an exciting development for all the league’s stakeholders and fortifies our continued efforts to remain the strongest league below and in support of MLS on and off the field."
- Get more Galaxy news at LAGalaxy.com
Onalfo helped lead the Galaxy Reserves to back-to-back MLS Reserve League West Division titles and won MLS Cup titles under first-team head coach Bruce Arena in 2011 and 2012. Onalfo played for Arena at the University of Virginia, with D.C. United in 1998 and then served as his assistant coach with the US national team for four years, including at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
“I’m honored to be named the head coach of LA Galaxy II,” Onalfo said. “I’m excited to be provided with the opportunity to coach and develop young players within the Galaxy system and compete for a USL PRO championship.”
Galaxy technical director Jovan Kirovski, director of soccer operations David Kammarman and Onalfo will begin the process of building the LA Galaxy II team immediately.