Soccer News: LA Blues Get Ready to Face Mexican U-20 National Team With New Head Coach
Los Angeles Blues gets ready to face Mexico's U20 National Team with a new Head Coach, a new roster and new goals
With the international match against Mexico's U-20 National Soccer Team, the LA Blues are on track for what is expected to be their best year on and off the field. Going into the third year of professional competition in the USL 2013 season the LA Blues now have a new Head Coach, new players added to a small base from last year's roster and new goals for the year.
Alberto Juan Florez has taken over the Head Coach position held last year by Charlie Naimo. Originally from Colombia, Florez is an experienced youth and professional coach with an impressive list of coaching successes at every level he has coached.
Florez played in the center of the defense for Glendale College in 1983/84, winning a State Championship with the Vaqueros before coming to Cal State Northridge (CSUN) on a scholarship in 1986 as a center midfielder and forward. Juan subsequently played professionally for the reserve teams of Millonarios and América de Cali in Colombia before returning to the United States in the early 1990s.
At CSUN, Juan was an assistant coach for men’s varsity in 1992, offensive assistant coach for men’s varsity from 2000-06 and helped guiding the team to consecutive NCAA DIV. I tournament appearances in 2002 and 2003.He also helped guide CSUN to the top spot in the national rankings in total offense for most of the 2003 season (2.90 per game ) which was good for second in the final national rankings. Florez has prior USL experience, having been in charge of two San Fernando Valley teams. Juan was at the helm of the SFV Golden Eagles (from 1996-98) where he led the team to its first play-off appearance and the SFV Quakes (from 2007-2008). Leading the Quakes to first place finishes in both years, five of his team members went on to compete in the MLS.
Florez is familiar with the Los Angeles Blues, as last year, he was the Technical Assistant for Naimo. Earlier this year, he led the LA Blues, to a penalty-kick 6-5 victory over current Guatemala's Champion, Xelaju, in the Independence Cup played in Los Angeles.
The goal of the team this year is to vastly improve the 8th place finish in league standings and become an active player development organization. New strategic alliances have been formed with United States and Mexican professional teams that will be working together in player exchanges and professional contracts for talented players.
Other goals include improving game attendance, team recognition in the Los Angeles sports market, enhancing program for community-related events and broadening television and radio coverage for the team.
Three players from last season will remain with the Blues, including defender Bryan Burke, forward Allan Russell, from Scotland and Cuban Maykel Galindo. All players currently on the off-season roster, to be confirmed and approved by USL before the 2013 season, include:
Artur Aghasyan MF/FW
Julian Stahler MF
Mohammed Roknipor FW
Adrian Dubois DF
Alan Russell MF
Brayeen Castañeda MF
Bryan Burke MF
Carl W. GK
Dallas Mue DF
Dane Hill DEF
Daryoush Yasdani MF
David Arvizu MF
Duran Stanley FW
Jimmy Turner DF
Jorge Butron MF/FW
Matt Hall DF/MF
Maykel Galindo MF/FW
Omar Jasheen MF/FW
Omid Shokoufandeh MF/FW
Ronnie Ybarra MF
Sergio Ortiz DF
Trevor Whiddon GK
Willy Lopez MF
In preparation for the game against Mexico's U20 team, the Blues will take on Yucaipa Premier League All-Stars on Saturday, November 3, 2012.
Against the Tri, it is not expected to be an easy outing for the local team. Earlier this year, Mexico beat the Blues 1-0 in a highly competitive match. Since them, Mexico' U-20 have had a brilliant campaign. Led by the popular former Mexican national team member, Sergio Almaguer, the squad includes among its achievements of 2012 a Third Place in the Terborg Tournament held in the Netherlands in late May and was crowned in three different tournaments: ADO Den Haag ’59 Second Cup in Holland, the Tournament Lev Yashin in Russia and the Milk Cup in Ireland, beating quality teams and National Teams in its category: Anderlecht, Ajax, FC Twente, Besiktas, West Ham, Dynamo Moscow, Malaga, Turkey, Ireland and Denmark.The Mexican team comes to the Los Angeles area with a base that now includes six members of the World Champions in the Under-17 World Cup in 2011 and who continue to maintain an excellent level of international competition.
On Friday 16th, the TRI will play against the LA Blues at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, while the second game will be held at the East Los Angeles Stadium, on Sunday, November 18th.
Tickets for both games are now on sale at Ticketfly (714) 738 -8011 Ext 207. and the usual ticket sale store locations.