Los Angeles Galaxy Ins and Outs, Dec. 10, 2010

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IDecember 10, 2010

Klein lays out blueprint for Galaxy Youth Academy

Now-retired Los Angeles Galaxy standout and current Senior Director of the LA Galaxy Academy Program and Special Projects Chris Klein wasted no time in making plans for the long-term development of the program over the week.

“To be real honest, as I finished playing I became more and more excited about beginning the next chapter,” Klein told MLSsoccer.com. “I was really excited to get started and sink my teeth into this and learn and evaluate, to see how we can improve upon what has been a very good foundation.”

On Klein's shoulders will be the task of developing local young talent who not only want to see their heroes in the strip, but will also be able to play for it as members of the Academy.

“[It's about] How can we get players that grow up locally in Southern California to not only want to see the Galaxy, but to be able to play for the Galaxy,” Klein said. “The idea with our academy is getting players at a younger and younger age, to be able to develop them over a longer period of time.

"In this country, you’ve always had an issue where you look and find the best players and you form a team. We want to take a different approach with the Galaxy. We want to find players early, work with them, invest in them and show that we can develop them over many years to prepare them to play the professional game.”

A key demographic that Klein intends to target are Hispanic players, and Mexican-American youth.

“The Mexican-American population is very strong here and it would be foolish for us not to look at that market,” Klein said. “It’s definitely part of our program now and will be part of our program going forward.”

But the important goal to take from all this, the former G's midfielder noted, is developing the players while having them stay local.

“We want to keep our players here,” Klein said. “We feel it’s the best way for our league to grow and for the LA Galaxy to continue to be not only the strongest brand in MLS but year after year the best team in MLS.”

Youth Academy Update

While the Los Angeles Galaxy Youth Academy sides finished a combined 5-1-0 at the Winter Showcase in Phoenix, Arizona, other MLS youth academies also did reasonably well.

Among the Under-18s, FC Dallas finished 3-0-0 while Real Salt Lake Arizona ended their run with a 2-0-1 record. D.C. United's Under-16 side also finished 3-0-0, while the Seattle Sounders were similarly successful with a 2-0-1 record.

Here are the MLS youth academy records from the Winter Showcase.

U-18 Records (W-L-T)
FC Dallas – 3-0-0
Real Salt Lake (AZ) – 2-0-1
New England Revolution – 2-1-0
LA Galaxy – 2-1-0
New York Red Bulls – 2-1-0
Chivas USA – 2-1-0
Crew Academy – 2-1-0
San Jose Earthquakes – 2-1-0
Seattle Sounders FC – 2-1-0
Houston Dynamo – 2-1-0
Chicago Fire – 1-1-1
Sporting Kansas City – 1-1-1
D.C. United – 0-2-1
Colorado Rapids – 0-2-1

U-16 Records (W-L-T)
D.C. United – 3-0-0
LA Galaxy – 3-0-0
Seattle Sounders FC – 2-0-1
Chivas USA – 2-1-0
Chicago Fire – 1-0-2
Real Salt Lake (AZ) – 1-0-2
Colorado Rapids – 1-1-1
Sporting Kansas City – 1-1-1
New England Revolution – 1-2-0
FC Dallas – 1-2-0
Houston Dynamo 1-2-0
New York Red Bulls – 0-1-2
San Jose Earthquakes – 0-2-1
Crew Academy – 0-2-1

Could Dema Kovalenko be on his way out?

Dema Kovalenko was mulling the possibility of playing in the Eastern Conference with D.C. United, the Philadelphia Union or Chicago Fire.

“When I had three years there [at D.C.], I was happy there. I knew people there,” Kovalenko said. “I think the fans like me there. It would be good for me.

“At this point in my career, I just don’t want to go to a place that’s something new to me and I have to change and again start from zero. If it happens, it happens... But I’d be more comfortable going somewhere where I was there before.

“I’ve always been realistic and reasonable, and I think it’s a reasonable salary. Hopefully somebody takes me, because I still have a couple years left to help a team. And I think everybody’s in the same position who’s on that list.”

Kovalenko was not selected on Wednesday in Stage 1.