LA Galaxy Hosts Summer Youth Soccer Camps
While there are many MLS clubs, few have celebrated as many prestigious victories as the LA Galaxy — and with summer here and the Galaxy’s great selection of youth soccer camps, what better way for an aspiring soccer player to spend their time?
Often thought of only for elite players, the LA Galaxy has a wide range of camps to help beginners just discovering their passion for the game as well as elite DA players looking to take their game to the next level.
The LA Galaxy has a great record for player development and a real desire to help players — on all levels — improve their game. We thought it would be great to interview LA Galaxy’s Brand Development, Senior Manager Zach Wells and find out more on these programs. Wells is a retired professional goalkeeper who played with D.C. United and the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Youth Soccer News: Summer is finally here and there are tons of soccer camps to choose from — so what makes the LA Galaxy Camps so special? We asked that question, but the answer is fairly obvious.
The LA Galaxy has a camp for youth soccer players at every level — and, since it is one of the best MLS clubs in the country — why wouldn’t it have outstanding summer soccer camps?
LA Galaxy tops the league with a total of 5 MLS Cups and has earned 4 Supporters’ Shields.
Famous LA Galaxy Players:
U.S. Men’s National Team legend Landon Donovan is the all-time leading goal scorer and assist leader for the Galaxy as he spent ten years with the club during his professional career.
U.S. international Cobi Jones was the winner of two MLS Cups during his tenure in Los Angeles, as well as hoisting the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup in 2002. Jones is the third all-time scorer for Galaxy as he also holds the record for most matches played with the club.
Los Angeles has also enjoyed the likes of international stars suiting up for the club. England international David Beckham was the first big European signing in 2007 when he made the transfer from Real Madrid. Robbie Keane of Ireland played for Los Angeles from 2011-2016 as well as Mexican international Giovanni Dos Santos joining the club in 2015.
Regardless of star power, the LA Galaxy has always remained focused on developing players — looking to raise homegrown players who will suit up for the first team one day.
SoccerToday spoke with LA Galaxy Brand Development, Senior Manager Zach Wells to get the scoop on the club’s summer camp programs:
Diane Scavuzzo: Are LA Galaxy’s summer camps only for top, elite youth soccer players?
Zach Wells: No, we want players of all ages and abilities to enjoy a great, professional camp experience — we have summer camps that serve players of all levels.
Camps for elite players like our Elite Camp at StubHub Center and our Advanced Residential Camp at the Cate School in Carpinteria.
For those players just starting out or on an intermediate level, we have a Science of Soccer camp with full and half day programs too. We have girls only program as well as Attacking and Defending Principles Camp, which is an intense four days of specialized training.
Diane Scavuzzo: LA Galaxy offers one of the top camps for goalkeepers, but parents often want to know — how much can a player (or a GK) really learn in just a few days?
Zach Wells: Our camp for goalkeepers is excellent.
This year we have former MLS goalkeepers Kevin Hartman and Dan Kennedy running the camps.
Players can greatly improve their fundamental understanding and the technique of the position — as well as gain more advanced and nuanced tips from these former pro and highly experienced keepers.
Diane Scavuzzo: What’s the average ratio of coach to player at the camps?
Zach Wells: Generally, we aim for an 12-to-1 ratio at our camps — This provides a great level of individual attention for each camper, and that is what campers deserve.
Diane Scavuzzo: What impresses you most when you watch youth soccer players on the field?
Zach Wells: I’m impressed with the commitment level to the sport at a young age and the technique that comes with it.
When I was young, we played competitive soccer 4-6 months out of the year and only trained twice per week. Young players nowadays are more advanced than my generation as far as being comfortable on the ball and technically sound.
Diane Scavuzzo: What were you like as a young player in your teens?
Zach Wells: MLS had just started and playing the game in my teens in Orange County was more about team camaraderie and enjoying the sport than striving to become a professional.
I loved to compete as a teen and tried to be one of the hardest workers on the team. Eventually, opportunities started opening up as a result.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you like best about your role at the LA Galaxy?
Zach Wells: We have a chance to positively affect young peoples’ lives through the vehicle of soccer. I believe that sport, in general, is powerful and helps build character through teamwork and competition.
I like the fact that we are introducing more avenues for young players to feel a connection to the LA Galaxy and will hopefully lead them to strive to play for their local pro club one day.
Diane Scavuzzo: If a player is exceptional – will he be “seen” at the camp?
Zach Wells: Yes, the camp coaching staff has been able to recommend trials in our Academy.
Diane Scavuzzo: Several of the elite camps filled up quickly, but is there still space in some of the camps?
Zach Wells: We limit capacity at our elite camps to ensure quality field spacing and quality coaching moments. We do have limited spaces left in a few of our camps.
Diane Scavuzzo: People say with great pride that their kids play at the LA Galaxy — regardless if it’s the club in LA where the first team plays or an affiliate. Do the LA Galaxy affiliate programs serve as a extended player pools for your Academy?
Zach Wells: Yes. Many people have put limitless hours into building the culture and brand of the LA Galaxy over the last 22 years, so I’m glad that people are proud to be part of our family.
We have working relationships with all of our alliance clubs that include consulting in coaching education, player identification and general operations. We hope that these working relationships will continue to bear fruit as more generations of players and coaches see it as a viable pathway.
So far, we have selected over 20 youth players from our alliance clubs for our Academy.
We aim to continue to invest in the program and bring more success to our Boys’ and newly formed Girls’ Academies.
Diane Scavuzzo: How many players are there total at the affiliates?
Zach Wells: We have approximately 4,500 players in the competitive programs at our five alliance clubs: San Diego, Orange County, South Bay, Conejo Valley, Bakersfield.
Photo Credit: LA Galaxy Camp Pictures – Stephanie Romero/LA GALAXY