Galaxy coaches and support staff look on at the club's open tryouts.
Kevin Terrell/

L.A. Galaxy identify two players in open tryouts

Open tryout photos >

CARSON, Calif. - The Los Angeles Galaxy today announced that the club has identified two players from this weekend's open tryout to join the team for pre-season training. Laurent Merlin, 22, and Rui Fortes, 24, played in three games over the weekend to catch the eye of the Galaxy coaching staff. Both players have been invited to continue with the Galaxy and join the club for a one-week trail beginning on Monday, February 12.

"Merlin and Fortes are raw but they showed some potential, and therefore their adventure will continue," said Galaxy President and General Manager Alexi Lalas. "It remains to be seen if both can adapt to the MLS level."

A native of Marseille, France, Merlin is a 5'10'', 165 pound forward/midfielder and came up through the youth system with Olympique de Marseille in France. Meanwhile, Fortes, a 5'11'' and 180 pounds midfielder, spent four years with the Rhode Island Stingrays.

"They have a chance of being molded into professional players," said Galaxy Head Coach Frank Yallop. "Now it's obviously up to them and us to see if they can take the next step."

Merlin and Fortes were two of eight hundred participants who competed on Saturday in the first day of tryouts at The Home Depot Center. That group was then cut down to 133 players who were invited back for a second day of trials on Sunday. Those players were divided into eight teams for 60-minute, full-field matches before being narrowed down once again to 30 for one final match on Sunday afternoon.

Laurent Merlin
Position: Forward/Midfield
Height: 5'10''
Weight: 167
Born: Marseille, France
Hometown: Marseille, France
Citizenship: France
Last Club: Chateauroux (French League 2)

Rui Fortes
Position: Midfield
Height: 5'11''
Weight: 180
Born: August 16, 1982 in Lisbon, Portugal
Hometown: Pawtucket, RI
Citizenship: Portugal (Green Card)
Last Club: Rhode Island Stingray

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