Tom Penn was announced as one of the primary owners of Los Angeles FC, the new MLS club in Los Angeles, on Thursday. Listed on the club's website as president, Penn looks to be one of the people entrusted with actually getting things done ahead of and beyond the team's actual launch, announced to be coming in 2017.
One of the aspects Penn was asked by reporters about on Thursday at the unveiling event in Los Angeles was the status of an academy, and whether it will incorporate Chivas USA's existing academy.
First, Penn was asked about the place of an academy in building the club overall.
"We're absolutely going to have a top-notch development academy," he said. "This is a gold mine of talent. And we will engage aggressively early in that space. Because there's a real opportunity to home grow your own talent. And over time, you can really have a phenomenal Homegrown base."
When asked directly if LAFC would be incorporating Chivas USA's academy into the new club's set-up, Penn made it pretty clear the existing academy would have no ties to LAFC.
"We are not operating the Chivas Academy. MLS will continue to do so, I believe they've announced," Penn said.
So was there a timetable on the new academy being set up? Not exactly, though Penn indicated it was something they wanted to take care of in a timely manner.
"We will establish ours in the most expeditious way possible," he explained. "We don't want to lose ground there, because of the fertile bed of talent that is looking for a place to develop. And that's what's critical here, is we're not going to go away as a club in the talent development business. We're committed to that."
So it's unclear if an academy will be set up before the first team takes the field, though it seems like a distinct possibility. Stay tuned for more information on this and other aspects of LAFC's founding.
Thanks to Josie Becker and Ryan Rosenblatt, who provided reporting on this article.
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