USL PRO News Release
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
TAMPA, Fla. – USL PRO is pleased to announce that the LA Galaxy of Major League Soccer will own and operate a USL PRO franchise - LA Galaxy II - beginning with the 2014 season. The Galaxy are the first MLS club to form and fund a USL PRO team to operate within the club’s player development structure.
USL PRO began a groundbreaking, multi-year partnership with MLS in 2013 that has strengthened the competition in both leagues and established a solid foundation for future collaboration. MLS teams will choose to either field a second team in USL PRO or affiliate with an existing USL PRO franchise by 2015, with 10 USL PRO teams already having entered into MLS affiliation agreements.
“We are thrilled to welcome LA Galaxy II into USL PRO as our newest expansion club,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “Entering the second season of our partnership with Major League Soccer, the addition of LA Galaxy II into our competition is an exciting development for all the league’s stakeholders and fortifies our continued efforts to remain the strongest league below and in support of MLS on and off the field. It is particularly fitting that the LA Galaxy, one of Major League Soccer’s true groundbreakers and pioneers across so many different fronts during the past two decades, are now the first to fully embrace the value and potential of placing a team in USL PRO.”
The addition of LA Galaxy II creates a 14-team league for USL PRO in 2014, with expansion sides in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Tulsa, Oklahoma already announced for 2015. The 2014 USL PRO schedule will be released later this week.
The Galaxy announced that Curt Onalfo has been promoted and named the head coach of LA Galaxy II and will be charged with leading the USL PRO side and developing players for the LA Galaxy first team.
“We believe the LA Galaxy are taking a monumental step for player development in North America,” Galaxy President Chris Klein said. “The creation of LA Galaxy II, through USL PRO, provides the Galaxy with a fully realized, in-house player development program starting with the Under-12 Academy through the LA Galaxy first team. The investment of AEG and the Galaxy for LA Galaxy II will allow us to continue to develop the best players in Southern California while closing the gap between the Galaxy Academy and the LA Galaxy.”
A first-of-its-kind program in MLS, LA Galaxy II will provide playing time and development opportunities for players within the LA Galaxy player development structure. The USL PRO side offers a 28-game season and will feature LA Galaxy first team players, players signed by Galaxy II and LA Galaxy Academy players. As part of the relationship between LA Galaxy and LA Galaxy II, any number of first team LA Galaxy players are available for loan to the USL PRO side. In addition, Galaxy II may utilize Galaxy Academy players for training and on game days with Academy products retaining their amateur status.
LA Galaxy II will train and play all of its home matches at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
Onalfo, a former MLS player and Galaxy assistant coach since 2011, will head up the Galaxy USL PRO team. While serving as an assistant coach under Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, Onalfo helped lead the Galaxy Reserves to back-to-back MLS Reserve League West Division titles in addition to winning MLS Cup in 2011 and 2012. The 44-year-old played for Arena at the University of Virginia and with D.C. United in 1998 and then served as his assistant coach with the U.S. National Team for four years, including at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
“I’m honored to be named the head coach of LA Galaxy II,” Onalfo said. “I’m excited to be provided with the opportunity to coach and develop young players within the Galaxy system and compete for a USL PRO championship.”