The LA Galaxy kept telling us that they were going to look to their USL affiliate, LA Galaxy II, to fill any holes they had on their senior team roster. And over the course of the last two days, they’ve done exactly that.
The team officially announced that Defender Bradley Diallo, Defender Nathan Smith, and Midfielder Jaime Villarreal signed their first Major League Soccer contract. All three have been active the Galaxy’s 2017 preseason. And all three come in at a time when the front office has decided to use its vast wealth of talent at the Academy and at LA Galaxy II to support the endeavors of the senior team.
The Galaxy currently have 26 of a maximum of 30 players booked on the first team roster. And one of the players, Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, is expected to part ways with the team very soon — Kennedy is expected to either retire or be waved by the team and the implications of that could see the Galaxy recover some of their cap space. However, no official announcement has been made.
Of those 26 players, only 10 played any significant minutes for the Galaxy in 2016 and the roster overhaul has included both young and old players. Gone are AJ DeLaGarza (trade), Leonardo (re-entry draft), Robbie Keane (unattached), Steven Gerrard (retired), Mike Magee (retired), Alan Gordon (Free Agent with Colorado), and Landon Donovan (retired again). But in their place, Romain Alessandrini, João Pedro, and Jermaine Jones have stepped in, and younger players like Jack McBean, Ari Lassiter, Dave Romney and Emmanuel Boateng look to put their stamp on 2017.
It may be a shift in philosophy for the Galaxy — a team that has always spent the money to acquire high profile aging Europeans, but it may be one that will see a younger and more exciting Galaxy team on the field in 2017.
BRADLEY DIALLO (DEFENDER)
Diallo is originally from Marseille, France making him the second Frenchman from that city on the roster (Romain Alessandrini is also from Marseille). He’s 26-years old and been with LA Galaxy II for the past three seasons. During that time he’s made 46 appearances with just five of those coming in 2016.
Prior to the 2016 season, he suffered an ACL injury that kept him off the field for most of the year.
He started his career coming through the youth system of Olympique de Marseille in Ligue 1. In 2008 he made four appearances for the first team in exhibition matches.
After stints with Oldham Athletic and Royal White Start Bruxelles he joined LA Galaxy II in 2014.
“Bradley has continued to show his value as a member with Galaxy II over the last three seasons,” said LA Galaxy General Manager Peter Vagenas. “He is a versatile player and will provide depth along our backline. He has proven that he can play at a high level while training with the Galaxy this preseason and we are excited to add him to our roster.”
Transaction: LA Galaxy sign defender Bradley Diallo from LA Galaxy II
Name: Bradley Diallo
Weight: 175 lbs.
Born: July 20, 1990
Hometown: Marseille, France
Last Club: LA Galaxy II
NATHAN SMITH (DEFENDER)
Smith is originally from Clovis, California and spent just one year with LA Galaxy II but is a product of the LA Galaxy Academy and withdrew from his senior year at UCLA to sign with Los Dos. He appeared in 24 matches for the USL side.
At UCLA, Smith earned Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 honors in his sophomore and junior years. And lead the team in minutes, with 1,744 in 20 games before leaving to join LA Galaxy II.
Nathan was signed to a Homegrown Player contract by they Galaxy and he now joins a list of seven other players to wear that moniker — Gyasi Zardes, Jose Villarreal, Raul Mendiola, Bradford Jamieson IV, Jack McBean, Hugo Arellano and Jaime Villarreal (see below).
“Nathan is a player that has shown promise during his time with LA Galaxy II,” said LA Galaxy General Manager Pete Vagenas. “His signing with our first team is a testament to his continued growth on the field. We think he can continue to develop to contribute to our team at the MLS level.”
Transaction: LA Galaxy sign defender Nathan Smith as a Homegrown Player
Name: Nathan Smith
Weight: 165 lbs.
Hometown: Clovis, Calif.
Last Club: LA Galaxy II
Citizenship: United States
JAIME VILLARREAL (MIDFIELDER)
The younger brother of LA Galaxy Homegrown Player, Jose Villarreal, Jaime signed a Homegrown Player contract with the LA Galaxy. The younger Villarreal had a standout season in 2016 with Los Dos.
Originally signing with the USL side midway through their inaugural season (July of 2014), he’s made 61 appearances and is well known to Senior Team Coach, Curt Onalfo.
Villarreal is originally from Inglewood, California and played extensively for the LA’s academy. With the U-18 and U-16 teams he scored over the 30 goals and was named LA Galaxy Academy Player of the Year in 2014.
“Jaime is a player that has grown up in our system while excelling with LA Galaxy II,” said LA Galaxy General Manager Pete Vagenas. “We are confident that success can continue with the first team and we are excited to add him to our roster.”
Transaction: LA Galaxy sign midfielder Jaime Villarreal as a Homegrown Player