LAFC John Thorrington press conference - 12/8/15
Alicia Rodriguez

LAFC's John Thorrington talks academy, first-team ambitions

LAFC is making news, and it’s not related to any shenanigans from part-owner Will Ferrell.

Though the club is still some time away from making their MLS debut, the franchise will play their first competitive matches later this month, when a LAFC U-12 academy team will play in a seven-on-seven tournament in suburban Dallas.

The LA Times spoke with LAFC executive vice president of soccer John Thorrington about the club’s fledgling academy, which currently only fields the U-12 team. The longtime MLS midfielder is looking for a certain type of youth player for his club, one that’s athletic, technical, tough and has a high soccer IQ.

“But that’s not bigger, stronger, faster. I would view that more sharp, quick, agile,” Thorrington told the Times’ Kevin Baxter. “The team that we want to build is one that is very fast-paced, plays on the front foot, is the aggressor in all games.”

He’s expecting big things from them, too.

“I have huge plans for this group of 12-year-olds,” he said. “I’ve told them. I’ve told their parents. They’re our first signings, our first competitive game.

“I’m really excited to see the end of that story.”

Thorrington also recently spoke with Soccerex about some of his plans for the LAFC first-team, indicating that the club is already targeting some international stars for their debut season in 2018.

“There’s no hiding that our city is a city of stars, and we are already discussing the right targets in the international market that fit our needs and philosophy and who will help us become a global club.”

Thorrington also acknowledged the other MLS team in-market, calling the LA Galaxy the benchmark for success in MLS. He sounds like he plans on shaking that up, however.

“It is certainly true that the Galaxy have been the benchmark when it comes to first-team success in MLS,” he said. “[But] the ambitious plan we have set for LAFC is to be the benchmark for the next 20 years of MLS.”