The LA Galaxy announced today that the club has signed 18 year old midfielder Jose Villarreal as a Home Grown player. A native of Inglewood, CA, he's the third player to sign to the Galaxy from their Academy program following Tristan Bowen and Jack McBean.
"Jose is a player that we have known and watched for a long time and it’s been great to have him in our Academy this past year," Galaxy Academy Senior Director Chris Klein said. "He has a tremendous amount of promise and potential and we’re excited that he’ll be able to continue his development with the first team."
Villarreal guided local club team Pateadores to a national championship in July. He scored two goals to give the Mission Viejo based team the victory in the US Soccer Development Academy Finals in Milwaukee. He signed to the LA Galaxy soon after.
Under MLS Home Grown player rules, a club may sign a player without subjecting him to the SuperDraft if the player has played one year in the club's development program. Villarreal was only with the Galaxy for half a year, but Peteadores is affiliated with the LA Galaxy which may have expedited the process.
For those wanting a lesson on the dynamics of LA club soccer, Villarreal came up with the South Bay Force who operate out of Redondo Beach and are affiliated with the Galaxy and Adidas. Pateadores is a SBF affiliate they use for players they want to play in the US Soccer Development Academy.
Since joining the LA Galaxy academy team, he has scored three times in six games and the team has gone 7-0-2. Villarreal was named to the US-23 nation team in November, for a camp held in Germany.
"It’s been my dream ever since I was little to be a professional soccer player, so to be able to do that and stay close to home so that I can play in front of my family and friends is a dream come true," Villarreal said. "Growing up here in the area I’ve always watched the Galaxy and been a fan of the team so this will be a great experience for me."