On National Signing Day, the LA Galaxy had seven players from their academy system sign letters of intent to play NCAA soccer next school year. The seven players for the Galaxy U-18 team who will join the college ranks next year are: Paul Arriola, Willie Raygoza, and Nathan Smith (UCLA); Josh McNeely and Drew Murphy (UC Santa Barbara); Justin Dhillon (Cal Poly), and Vincent Reyes (FIU). However, at least one academy player has mixed feelings about signing his letter.
Still gotta sign that paper today #lovehatefeeling— Paul Arriola (@PaulArriola) February 6, 2013
The tweet implies that Paul Arriola was expecting a homegrown contract, and isn't completely on board with going on to college. This ties directly into a conversation we've been having all this week, where the majority MLS academy players still have to go through an NCAA system without a contract.
As is the case in Major League Baseball, there's no requirement that players attend college but it is an either or proposition. Players lose their NCAA eligibility once they take a professional contract.
Arriola is also on the US U-18 national team, and is considered a five star prospect and the eighth best player at the IMG Academy according to Top Drawer Soccer (link). He's ranked #3 in Southern California and #2 amongst forwards.
LA Galaxy's Jack McBean is #3 on the IMG Academy top 150. William Raygoza, a midfielder, is ranked #9. Justin Dhillon comes in at #23, and Nathan Smith at #25. Josh McNeely comes in at #29, and Drew Murphy just makes the top 100 at #98.
All seven players will continue to play with the Galaxy U-18's until they enroll in college in the fall.