LAFC U16 Girls Premier Team Members: Sara Norwall, Haley Mojica and Gaby Vasquez pictured here with Health Net’s Diane Baxter, lend a hand at Health Net’s 2nd Annual Toy Giveaway in Huntington Park.

The girls helped distribute over 500 toys to needy children in the community and talked to them about healthy living and the importance of education in life and sports. The girls are “Health Net Ambassadors of Sound Bodies and Sound Minds” as part of Health Net’s 2008 Sponsorship of the LAFC Girls Premier Soccer Program.

As LAFC expands through its global marketing partnerships with brands like Chelsea FC, Adidas, Azteca America and Health Net, our kids will be noticed for being winners on and off the field.  National health care insurance provider Health Net saw partnering with the LAFC GU16 Premier team as an opportunity to help them promote healthy living and preventive health care to adolescents (especially girls) inside and outside of the Health Net network. The girls make public appearances during community events targeting Latino youth throughout Southern California and will be launching a social networking campaign on the internet in the spring. In 2009, Health Net is considering expanding the program to include all LAFC teams and age groups to have a bigger impact on youth and to provide more opportunities through scholarships and community service.

26 / December / 2008  In the News  Comments (0)

After an excellent League season where they were unbeaten in Gold for the second year running (only a forfeit is on the record due to their Mexico Trip), the LAFC BU12 felt ready for the difficult task of retaining their League Cup crown. They were proven right as they powered through the pool play games giving the boys the opportunity to make a run at the championship.

Beating Real So Cal Blue in the Sweet 16, (Silver Elite North 3-0), Eagles in the Quarter Finals, (Silver North 6-0), and Legends (Gold) on PK’s after a tough 0-0 tie in the Semi’s there was only Real So Cal White, winners of Silver Elite North and a future opponent in the Gold bracket standing in their way.

A performance of dominance and striking prowess swept aside the opposition and LAFC ran out comfortable 4-0 winners to win back to back League Cups. Throughout this team’s evolution it is the forwards and midfielders that get the praise but the defensive strength of this team is their true advantage over any other team in this age group. Not only did the team win the championship with everyone gunning for them, they did it convincingly without conceding a single goal at any stage of the competition. That is the mark of a great defensive team!

“I’m very proud of the boys wearing both their LAFC and new LAFC-Chelsea jerseys on the way to regaining the trophy. This team consists of a very special group of young men that enjoy the game, work extremely hard and always come off the field knowing they have given it their all, win, lose or draw. These boys have the support of a wonderful set of parents and the backing of a tremendous organization. I’m excited to see where these boys will progress to next and I’m ready for the ride.”
—Barry Ritson, Head Coach.

The club as a whole is extremely proud of the boys’ achievements and the work of their coach.

“In my opinion, Barry Ritson is the wizard of our coaching staff. How he continues to improve and motivate his players and teams to perform at the highest level is a marvel. And these boys represent the most elite level of play in the country. And they just keep getting better, how proud we are of them.”
—Don Sheppard, LAFC President.

League Cup Record 2008:
Played: 5
Won: 5
Goals for: 20
Goals Against : 0

15 / December / 2008  Tournaments  Comments (2)

One LAFC U14 girls team and 2 LAFC U14 boys teams participated in the Adidas MLS 7v7 Soccer Challenge. The GU14 team beat all odds and great (greater) teams to play in the Championship game against South Coast Bayern, losing 1-2. The two U14 boys teams actually played each other in the Championship game providing a sure-thing win for their club! All three teams were presented their medals at the pre-show for the MLS Cup playoff and had their pictures taken with soccer celebrity player and MLS MVP, Kenny Cooper. To top it off, Noell Askins won the “Golden Boot” award for the tournament and Martin Arrieta won the tournament “MVP” award. LAFC U14s want to thank Adidas for the invitation to participate.

9 / December / 2008  Tournaments  Comments (2)
The LAFC GU14 White (Chavez) Team Defeated Five
Top-Level Teams to Become the Nomads 2008 Champions

After taking second place in their pool, the LAFC GU14 White team advanced to the final round by defeating two Cal North “Gold” teams (Capitol Premier League)—including one in a penalty shootout. In the Championship game, LAFC White faced the Eagles Blue—a very respectable and much bigger Silver Elite North team. After 60 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime, the teams were tied 1-1, sending the girls to their second shootout in two days. With 3 saves and 4 accurate drives to the back of the net, LAFC White emerged the Champions.

CONGRATULATIONS Champions. A title well deserved.

3 / December / 2008  Team Highlights  Comments (5)

United States Soccer sent its U17 Youth National Teams to La Canada on Saturday night to face LAFC Development Academy teams at La Canada High School. LAFC earned the right to play in these games based on spectacular performances last season, sending both U16 and U18 teams to the National Finals at The Home Depot Center in July. Both teams lost overtime games in front of large crowds and ESPN television cameras, but earned high marks from National Team coaches for the high level of professionalism demonstrated by coaches and players, on and off the field.

US Soccer’s Development Academy is a program started in 2007 “to improve the everyday environment for the elite youth player.” Using the U-17 National Team Residency program as a model of training and focus, teams in the Academy program only compete in Academy matches, thus increasing the amount of time that can be spent training and improving the quality of matches. LAFC, which recently inked a sponsorship deal with London-based Chelsea FC, and is headquartered in La Canada, was one of only 64 clubs across the nation originally selected for the program. The club fields two teams; one each in the U16 and U18 age brackets. Academy teams train 3 times per week, following specific training guidelines established by US Soccer, and play 30 games per year.

Locally, La Canada is well represented in LAFC’s Academy program. La Canada High students Aram Bagramyan, Keith Becker and Cameron Meeker all play on the U16 team, as do Flintridge Prep’s Peter Chodas, Brice Gumpel and Riley Wasson. St Francis High is represented on the U16 team by Glendale’s Kian Chachi, and the U18 team by Pasadena resident Michael Gates.

In Saturday’s action, LAFC grabbed an early lead in the 15th minute of the U16 game on a goal by Cameron Meeker. In a crowded penalty area, Meeker held off a defender, and spun the ball into the far lower corner of the goal, out of the reach of the diving Spencer Richie, National Team goalkeeper. Less than 10 Minutes later, the National Squad benefited from a hand-ball call in the LAFC penalty area and converted the free kick to tie the score 1-1. Soon after that, the visitors showed why they’re the National Team, stringing together several precision passes, and finishing with a laser-beam shot to the lower right corner. LAFC Goalkeeper Keith Becker, who was rock-solid throughout, made a valiant attempt but was unable to parry the ball wide. The first half ended 2-1. The second half was a back-and-forth affair with scoring chances coming at both ends. On more than one occasion, Peter Chodas made goal-saving defensive plays, exhibiting an uncanny ability to show up at the right place and time. Brice Gumpel had his hands full defending Jonathan Brown, probably the most athletic player on the US team, and did amazingly well to keep him off the score sheet. The National Team did finally manage to convert a header in front of the LAFC goal, and the game ended 3-1.

The U18 game was thrilling from beginning to end. Both teams displayed incredible skill and fortitude. Most observers felt that, on the whole, the older LAFC team held the advantage throughout, but the National Team was ever dangerous. Much of the National Team’s defensive focus was on LAFC’s Kevin Mejia, a Marhsall High School student, who has already signed an early letter of intent to play soccer at Boston College next fall, and was considered one of the nations top 20 recruits this season. During the game’s second half, LAFC right midfielder Giovanni Rollie made several spectacular runs, putting the National Team defense on it’s heals. With about 1 minute to go in regulation, Alex Burguette smashed home a corner kick with his head to give LAFC a 1-0 win.

On the whole, the night was a huge success for LAFC and for soccer fans in La Canada, over 500 of whom showed up to watch both games. After the 2 games, LAFC President and La Canada resident Don Sheppard said, “The message is clear, the top youth players in the country are being developed at LAFC.” This weekend, both LAFC Academy teams will travel to Lancaster for the Winter Showcase tournament which will feature all 144 teams from around the country.

2 / December / 2008  In the News  Comments (1)

Yes, I’m proudly decked out in LAFC Chelsea gear as I bring you good news for the Club. And our U18 Academy team was also decked out in Chelsea gear as they beat the Men’s U17 National Team 1 – 0 on Saturday night. And make no mistake about it, we won that game. Last year, we beat the Mexican U17 National Team 2 – 1 and now the U.S. team. The message is clear. The top youth players in the country are being developed at LAFC. And our players’ development has now been enhanced by the partnership with Chelsea FC, in my opinion the top name in soccer in the world. A full press release follows but here are some of the specific ways LAFC will benefit from the partnership:

      • We will now be known as LAFC Chelsea, showing the world that CFC is behind our players. Our colors will change to blue and white and all teams will get new uniforms next season.
      • Chelsea will help us financially by providing some scholarships to economically disadvantaged players. They won’t contribute enough to cover all scholarships so we’ll still need to raise additional funds as we always have.
      • Annually, select players and coaches will be sent to England to be evaluated and trained by Chelsea. And annually, Chelsea coaches will come here to work with all of our coaches and kids.
      • Our girls’ program will be enhanced by the relationship with Chelsea’s womens’ program and CFC will help us with our new WPSL franchise next year.
      • We’ll get to participate in more international tournaments and Chelsea teams will come here to play friendlies with us.
      • There’s much more that will unfold over the next many months but one thing is very clear. Chelsea chose LAFC because we are the top youth club in the U.S. And we chose Chelsea because they are the top Club in the world. Here’s the text of the press release that went out.


Matt Dianella
[email protected]

Tian Lee
[email protected]


Chelsea Partner with Southern California Soccer Club
Bringing Elite Training to Underprivileged Youth

LONDON/LOS ANGELES—Chelsea Football Club announced today a partnership with Los Angeles Futbol Club (LAFC), one of the most decorated youth soccer academies in the U.S.

LAFC will now be LAFC Chelsea and host Chelsea tournaments, training sessions and a player and coach exchange program.

LAFC, a three-year-old club and academy based in La Canada, Calif., is the third club to partner with Chelsea this year, further expanding the English Premier League team’s network of top American youth soccer clubs.

As a result of the partnership, LAFC Chelsea will offer more scholarships for young athletes with financial hardship. LAFC provides kids across Southern California and throughout the country the opportunity to play competitive soccer regardless of ability to pay club membership costs.

Chelsea FC Chief Executive Peter Kenyon said: “Our youth super club network is designed to support soccer development in the US. LAFC shares the same goal and has demonstrated rapid growth of their club and talent.

“Since its inception, LAFC has provided young athletes the opportunity to play competitive soccer through financial support. With our new partnership, we hope that the association with Chelsea can attract and leverage additional funding scholarships, helping to further develop the academy and club.

“Providing elite training for young talent is critical to the long-term development of the sport in America.”

The club will make its debut under the new LAFC Chelsea nameplate when its U16 and U18 teams take on the US Youth National Teams on November 29 in Los Angeles.

LAFC President Don Sheppard said: “LAFC was created to provide an affordable option for skilled players to play top-tier club soccer. We’ve been able to reach out to economically disadvantaged communities to recruit some of the best talent in the US.

“For a world-renowned club like Chelsea to recognize our mission and be a part of it shows the caliber and quality of their organization and their commitment to develop US soccer.

“We are a young program and a partnership like this allows us to reach the next level on skill development, player participation and overall club exposure. We have a top-tier coaching staff and now with Chelsea our players will receive an international view of the game—something they may not have received otherwise.”

LAFC includes over 50 boys and girls teams with 800 players from ages eight to eighteen. Throughout the last year, the academy has placed seven players on US national team rosters.

Chelsea’s youth super club network began in July 2008 with the Capital Area Soccer League (CASL) of North Carolina partnership. In November 2008, Chelsea announced a partnership with Match Fit Academy of New Jersey. LAFC is the third club to join Chelsea’s network.

1 / December / 2008  In the News  Comments (10)

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