This Is The Los Angeles Galaxy: Michael Stephens

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IMay 25, 2010

KANSAS CITY, KS - APRIL 24:  Michael Stephens #26 of the Los Angeles Galaxy pursues the ball during their MLS match against the Kansas City Wizards on April 24, 2010 at Community America Park in Kansas City, Kansas. The Galaxy and Wizards played to a 0-0 draw. (Photo by G.Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)
G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images

This is Part Nine in a series of articles on the players that make up the 2010 Los Angeles Galaxy.

Midfielder Michael Stephens is one hot rookie. Plain and simple.

Aside from his boyish looks and youthful charms, he is a player of the future for the Los Angeles Galaxy. On Sunday against Boca Juniors, Stephens showed what his ability could do when he has the ball at his feet.

It's his power to dictate off the misdirection and facilitation that makes the Galaxy's No. 26 quite a sensation.

Michael Francis Stephens was born on April 3, 1989 in Hinsdale, Illinois. The so-called epicenter of the "teardown" phenomenon, Hinsdale has seen more than 25 percent of its housing stock having been replaced with larger, newer homes for nearly three decades.

However, Stephens spent a great deal of his life in nearby Naperville. A footballing hotbed, Naperville is home to a number of business such as Nalco Holding Company, Tellabs, Alcatel-Lucent, and the BP North American Chemical Headquarters (you can get more information on the town in my profile on Brittany Bock right here ).

Stephens began his playing career at the Edison Academic Center. In 2004, he was named a Parade All-American. A season later, he would be named an NSCAA/adidas Youth All-American.

In 2005, Stephens was called up to the All-Star team that represented the States at the ODP Regional Team Tournament held in Argentina. Later that year, Stephens was chosen for another all-star side after attending the adidas ESP camp. That group of individuals would tour Germany in spring 2006.

Sockers F.C. Chicago was Stephens's major club, playing for the youth sides from 1999 through 2006, leading the U-19's to the Region 2 finals in his last season.

In the fall of '06, Michael Stephens joined the UCLA Bruins. A Pac-10 Rookie of the Year, Stephens was named to the Top Drawer Soccer All-Freshman first team and Soccer America's All-Freshman second team. Starting 22 of all 24 games played, he scored two goals and three assists, including one in the NCAA semifinals against the Virginia Cavaliers.

In 2007, Stephens started 20 of all 21 games played. However, this paled in comparison to his breakthrough performance in 2008.

A Soccer America MVP second-team selection, Stephens became the third player in UCLA men's soccer history to garner Pac-10 Player of the Year honors. Named also to the NSCAA/adidas All-Far West and All-Pac 10 first teams along with Top Drawer Soccer.com's National Team of the Season, Stephens scored seven goals and nine assists in 21 starts for the Bruins.

In 2009, Stephens wrapped up his career with seven assists in 15 matches played before representing the USA at the FIFA U-20 World Cup. He would go on to wrap his season with first-team All-Pac-10 and second-team NSCAA All-Far West honors.

Stephens finished his career as a UCLA Bruin with 11 goals and 20 assists in 78 starts and 81 overall appearances for Jorge Salcedo's team. He also played for the Chicago Fire's Premier Development League side, playing in eight matches.

And on January 14, 2010, Michael Stephens's hard work paid off as the 16th overall selection by the Los Angeles Galaxy. And his red-hot presence on the pitch is why the red-hot G's are ready to tear down the opposition, just like how old houses are torn down and replaced by the new back in Hinsdale.

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