LA Galaxy's full-time school helping academy players learn on, off field

LA Galaxy academy players

The LA Galaxy are known for churning talented young soccer players out of their academy, but that is not all the club is hoping to produce.

Fifty of the Galaxy's youth prospects recently enrolled in the club's first full-time school. The program combines both high-school studies and soccer training, and gives the youngsters knowledge about life both on the field and off of it.

"It is unique, and it is the first of its kind," Galaxy academy system director Pete Vagenas told the LA Times. "You do want to empower these kids and you want to encourage them to take hold of not only their career, but their education."

The Philadelphia Union also operate their own school, while FC Dallas partner with local schools and both Real Salt Lake and the Vancouver Whitecaps run residency programs that also provide for players' educations.

Already considered one of the clubs with the best academy in MLS, the Galaxy see this school as the next part of the process in molding their next generation of players. The club gets the youngsters for nine hours each weekday for schooling and practicing before sending them home, providing them with a chance to grow both as players and people.

In fact, 11 teenagers will graduate as part of the Galaxy's school's first senior class in June.

"We think this is a big shift in culture," Galaxy president Chris Klein said. "Establishing academies is a big shift. Then investing in it and building out the environment is the next step. This could change how we develop players in this country. And the hope is a Lionel Messi or a Cristiano Ronaldo will come from the United States."

Learn more about the Galaxy's school in the LA Times article.