LAFC announced Monday they have entered a partnership with local youth soccer power Real So Cal.
The partnership will have two prongs to it. The competitive prong will be called LAFC So Cal, and will be part of the MLS Youth Affiliate Network, expanding the club’s competitive youth footprint locally.
Meanwhile, recreational players will also be able to participate, through the West Valley Soccer League. All told, the program will encompass 4,000 youth players in the region.
“The LAFC So Cal Youth partnership is incredibly important to us,” said LAFC Co-President & General Manager John Thorrington in a club statement. “Our club strives to be a force for good – not just for those players that are already in our Academy, but for all players and parents in the youth soccer landscape in Southern California, and this is an important next step.”
Real So Cal, which has helped produce a number of pros over the years, including Adam Saldaña, Brandon Vincent, Eric Calvillo, Wilson Harris, and JJ Koval, among others, is not a fly-by-night organization. They’ve been around for decades and were one of the biggest youth academies in the area that was not directly affiliated with a local pro club. Given that a good number of Real So Cal players have been funneled to the LA Galaxy in recent years and subsequently turned pro, that pipeline looks like it could be directed LAFC’s way now instead.
“When you think of soccer in the city of Los Angeles, you think of LAFC,” said LAFC So Cal Youth Program Director Alberto Bru. “By becoming LAFC So Cal Youth, we are now aligned with a tremendous, high quality professional club that will be able to share its expertise, resources and leadership.”
“It feels like a natural fit,” LAFC Academy Director Todd Saldana said. “For a long time, they have been a front runner and ahead of the game in the youth market. This partnership gives us an opportunity to work with even more players and impact their player development program and get players even more prepared for the next level.”
The new LAFC So Cal website is up and running, although it looks like they’re building out some parts of it still. We’ll see how this partnership develops and how the parties can mutually benefit each other moving forward.
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