CARSON, CA - AUGUST 19: Newly acquired Los Angeles Galaxy forward Robbie Keane greets kids from Los Angeles Galaxy Youth Academy after training at The Home Depot Center on August 19, 2011 in Carson, California. Keane, who is the captain of Ireland's national team, will make his MLS debut against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday at The Home Depot Center (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
This list came out a few days ago, but our friends over at Big D Soccer compiled US Soccer's ratings of every soccer academy in the country. The LA Galaxy academy was rated three stars, on a scale with four stars as the top rating, and half stars awarded. The only academy awarded four stars was the FC Dallas academy.
The Galaxy have two youth teams in an academy that has successfully developed Tristan Bowen and Jack McBean for MLS play. The Galaxy have also developed a number of players for the US youth teams.
The 78 academy clubs are evaluated on eight categories, where the clubs are awarded up to five stars. Not much explanation is given for why the ratings were given. For example LA was give four stars for facilities. That's all we're given. The facilities the Galaxy academy uses are Home Depot Center Field 5 (turf field) and the Track and Field Facility. Did the Galaxy lose a star for turf? For the uninspiring Track and Field stadium? Who knows.
That was LA's best score. Three and a half stars were given for training environment and administrative, three stars for style of play and funding. Funding is a category that the Galaxy's new partnership with Farmer's Insurance can help, as Farmer's has pledged money toward the academy program. Style of play category is interesting; teams are expected to play a 4-3-3 (or one of its variants) and if they use a 4-4-2, it has to be with a diamond. The lowest score, two and a half stars for respect.
Certainly, the Galaxy have some room to work on with their discipline. In 18 games played, the Galaxy U-18 team had 55 yellow cards (how were they even able to field a team? There must be a typo there), one red, and one coach sent off. Still, the Galaxy have two high goal scorers, Jack McBean with 10 goals and Neil Ignacio with 11.
Jack McBean has already put on the LA Galaxy jersey in a competitive match, against Manchester City no less. The academy may be churning out some hot heads, but as long as it keeps churning out a goal scorer every two years or so, I guess there can't be any complaints.