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L.A. Galaxy welcome forward Tristan Bowen as first player to join Galaxy Rios program
Galaxy launch new youth development program to identify and develop future generations of Southern California stars
Los Angeles Galaxy Media Relations
CARSON, Calif. - The Los Angeles Galaxy Major League Soccer (MLS) club will launch its new official youth development program, Galaxy Rios (GR), beginning in April 2007 as part of MLS' latest youth development initiative, the club announced today. A native of Van Nuys, Calif., 16-year-old forward Tristan Bowen has committed to join the Galaxy Rios program, which will begin with two youth development teams starting next year, featuring a GR Under-15 and GR Under-18 boys teams with expanded age groups to be added in subsequent years.
"The Galaxy Rios program will enable us to develop an elite group of players who we feel have the potential to become the next Landon Donovan or Cobi Jones," said L.A. Galaxy President and General Manager Alexi Lalas. "Success will not be measured by wins and losses, but rather, by the number of players that graduate to the professional ranks. The program will produce quality soccer players and quality young men who will benefit our team and sport in the future."
Galaxy assistant coach Trevor James will add the title Director of Player Development and will oversee all aspects of the youth development teams' creation and development. Bowen was discovered by James and the Galaxy's coaching staff during the club's recent February Open Tryouts (18 and over) at The Home Depot Center.
"Tristan's a clever kid and he was somehow able to sneak into our open tryouts. By the time we discovered he was only 16 years-old he was already through to the final round," added Lalas. "At the end of the day, our coaching staff thought he was the best player on the field. That says a lot about his talent and his potential."
Bowen, 16 and of Jamaican heritage, was born and raised in Los Angeles. He began playing recreational soccer in 2000 and later moved on to club team F.C. Barcelona of Cal South. With Barcelona, Bowen helped his team to finals of the 2006 CalSouth National Cup, the semifinals of the 2006 Nike Manchester United Premier Cup U.S. Finals, while also playing in the prestigious 2006 Dallas Cup. As a high school freshman in 2006, Bowen played varsity soccer at Chatsworth High School alongside his older brother Travis before enrolling in a home schooling program through the City of Angels Independent Study program. Bowen has recently been playing with an adult league soccer team in Glendale, Calif.
"I was excited to hear (that I've been selected to join the Galaxy Rios program) and I'm very thankful for the opportunity to show my talents, and I'm ready to get everything going," Bowen said. "When I was younger I used to come to a lot of Galaxy games and I always wanted to have the opportunity to play for them, now I just have to work hard and keep progressing and I might get that opportunity."
With the launch of the Galaxy Rios youth development initiative, the Galaxy will be allowed to acquire, outside of the annual draft, top young players from the local area. Ultimately, this initiative will enhance the quality of young players entering the League and allow more of them to represent their hometown teams.
Galaxy Rios will give talented young players with professional aspirations an excellent opportunity to pursue their dreams, stay close to home, and continue their education. Players registered for at least 24 months in the Galaxy's youth program become eligible to sign a professional contract with that team without entering the MLS SuperDraft.
During the next few years, the Galaxy will look to create teams in up to six age groups. Players on these teams will wear the club's colors and train under the team's coaching staff. Players on the Galaxy's youth teams may be able to compete with other youth club teams at various times during the year. MLS youth programs will not jeopardize a player's NCAA eligibility.
Teams with existing youth programs that meet the established criteria may begin registering players to their Home Grown Player List this season. Therefore, the first "graduates" of these programs could move directly onto MLS rosters as early as 2008. Through 2010, teams will be permitted to sign up to two players from its Home Grown Player List per year.
The Galaxy Rios youth program will meet a number of League standards, including:
-The program will be based in the team's "Home Territory" approved by the MLS Board of Governors.
-Each team will be allowed one team of up to 18 players in each of the following age groups on its Home Grown Player List: Under-25, U20, U18, U16, U15, and U14
-Clubs will hire at least one coach for each age group.
-Players on these teams will be registered on the team's Home-Grown Player List.
-A minimum number of training and game days per year has been set for each age group.
Fans interested in 2007 L.A. Galaxy season tickets should call toll-free 1-877-3GALAXY or visit www.lagalaxy.com.
Posted on 16 Mar 2007 by coachgianni