Sampson heads to South and Central America

CARSON, Calif. - Los Angeles Galaxy Head Coach Steve Sampson will be traveling to South and Central America throughout December and much of January to scout players in the hopes adding some new faces to the Galaxy for the 2005 season, the club announced today.

Beginning with the 2005 season, all teams in Major League Soccer will have four slots for Senior Internationals and three for Youth Internationals (under 25 years of age). Currently, the Galaxy have just one senior international on their roster (Carlos Ruiz) and two youth internationals (Joseph Ngwenya and Marcelo Saragosa).

"We have great flexibility in our roster with the retirement of Andreas Herzog and Hong Myung Bo," said Galaxy President and General Manager Doug Hamilton. "Steve will look to improve our team by acquiring players from clubs throughout Central and South America with a rich tradition of developing talent.

"Our coaching staff's trip to a Sao Paulo a year ago gave us our first look at Marcelo Saragosa, who went on to be one of our most consistent performers in 2004. We hope this year's trip uncovers a similar diamond," added Hamilton.

Sampson, for whom the 2005 will be his first full season in MLS, will visit a total of six countries in his travels. His extended trip begins with a December 1 flight from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires, Argentina and he will not conclude all of his traveling until the middle part of January of 2005.

"I am eagerly anticipating the chance to scout players in Central and South America," said Sampson. "There will undoubtedly be a talented crop of players to watch and possibly pursue, that excites me a great deal."

Fabled Argentine side Club Atlético River Plate will be the first stop on Sampson's journey - where he will scout players there from December 1 - December 6. The club current sits in third place in Argentina's Torneo Apertura. In Sampson's absence, the rest of the Galaxy coaching staff will be responsible for guiding the club in their friendly against Mexican club Necaxa on December 3 in Carson.

The Galaxy field general will depart Argentina for another South American country, heading to Brazil. Once there, he will meet with the technical staff and observe players at Sao Paulo Sao Paulo Futebol Clube. The famed club and the Galaxy have an International Protocols agreement that began this past March. That agreement resulted in Sao Paulo loaning midfielder Marcelo Saragosa to the Galaxy.

After visiting Sao Paulo, Sampson will return to Los Angeles to scout some of the best collegiate players at the 2004 College Cup, being played at The Home Depot Center December 10 and 12.

The veteran coach hits the road again on December 14 and will make stops in Guatemala and Costa Rica, presently scheduled for three days apiece, before returning to Southern California on December 20. After the first of the New Year, he will scout players in both Honduras and El Salvador.

The Los Angeles Galaxy will host Mexican club CID Necaxa on Friday, December 3 at 7:30 pm at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. For more information or to order tickets, call the Galaxy ticket office toll-free today at 1-877-3GALAXY.

Stay connected: Get access to breaking news, videos, and analysis from North America's best soccer reporters via "This Week in MLS" newsletter or using our FREE mobile app.