Player Development


At LA Galaxy San Diego our player development model is made up of several key areas which we do a little differently than other clubs. We believe that when these areas come together, it provides the best environment for young players to develop in all aspects of the game:

  1. We are Player Centered – Individualized focus on the person behind the player
  2. The way we play – a possession-based playing style designed to develop well rounded soccer players with a high “soccer IQ”
  3. The way we coach – a comprehensive soccer education relative to the way we play the game
  4. Training environment – collaboration between high quality, innovative coaches and talented, committed players
  5. Best facilities in San Diego with state-of-the-art floodlit turf fields
  6. A set of clear expectations of players and parents within the program
  7. Unique player pathway – the only club in San Diego with a distinct pathway to both professional soccer and college soccer

How We Play

Having a clearly outlined style of play defines who we are on the field. Believing in the way we try to play the game creates unity between our coaches, players and parents.

In Possession
Teams are coached in our “Possession with a purpose” style, and play an offensive style of soccer based on quick ball movement. Our teams play through the thirds of the field, and playing out of the back using the goalkeeper and defenders is the foundation upon which this progressive possession-based playing style is based.

Out of Possession
Out of possession we attempt to deny the opposition space and time through intelligent collective pressing.

In Transition
During transition we play with intensity to try to immediately win the ball back within 6 seconds in defense, or break at speed with an end product in attack.

To achieve this style of play we believe in creating an optimal Training Environment.
The Right People, teaching the Right Things, in the Right Way, the LAGSD Way.

Our unique training environment is made up of:

  • High level coaches, who have a plan, believe in the plan, and execute the plan
  • High level players, who are dedicated to making themselves the best version of themselves they can be, through a commitment to the program
  • Individual care and attention, through our IDP’s, strength and conditioning components, futsal, technical development sessions, position specific training session, and video analysis program
  • Collaboration between our coaches and players creates a positive learning environment and culture of responsibility, accountability and development of each individual within the team setting

How We Coach

Goals of the coaches in providing a comprehensive soccer education:

  • To develop high-level technical players who demonstrate excellent decision making capabilities in game situations
  • To educate players in the LAGSD playing style and philosophy
  • To develop young men and women who will make a positive impact on their community
  • To teach players using a variety of methods that develop “soccer IQ”

Club Curriculum
To achieve these goals we have a fully functioning club curriculum which provides a year round plan and framework for developing players in the LAGSD style of play. Our curriculum is guided by the following principles:

80:20 Rule
We believe in the Pareto Principle, or the 80:20 rule, which states that 80% of results can be aOributed to 20% of activities performed. With that in mind, our curriculum focuses more on achieving technical and tactical excellence in a smaller number of areas which are directly linked to our club style of play.

Sequential Progression Of Training
The organization of our training plan is sequential in the way that it teaches core components in a logical progressive manner relative to our “possession with a purpose” style of play. For example, our players will first learn how to “play out of the back,” which will act as a foundation for moving to the next phase, which is attacking in the middle and final thirds of the field.

Cumulative Progression Of Training
As well as learning sequentially the teaching of the core areas is also cumulative Throughout the yearly plan, whenever a component of the curriculum is re-visited, players are challenged in more complex ways, with greater number of players, and higher speed of play, which requires more precise application of technique and tactical decisions in game scenarios.


Our club philosophy and curriculum is centered around improving the technical, tactical, physiological, and physical aspects of our individual players, and in turn this individual player development becomes the foundation upon which individual teams and the club are built. To assist with this process LAGSD has implemented age group specific Heads of Player Development (HOPDs), who report directly to the Directors of Coaching (Girls – Carl Higham, Boys – Glenn Malone) and act as sub-directors for their assigned year group(s).

The HOPDs ensure the coaches within their year group(s) are implementing the correct player curriculum, assist with player placement, act as a liaison between the parents/players/age group coaches and the directors, and advise on season schedule and tournament selection among other things. Please feel free to contact any of the Heads of Player Development below by clicking on their name to access their coaches profile. Coaches profiles include contact number and email address.

G12: Gregg Cacioppo
G11-G10: Gina Medina
G09: Gregg Cacioppo
G08-G07: Alex Walker
G06-G04: Natalie Eckerlin | to view VIDEO CLICK HERE
G03-G00: Courtney Drummond | to view VIDEO CLICK HERE

B12-B10: Nick Howitt | to view VIDEO CLICK HERE
B09: Manny Medina
B08: Steve Carroll
B07: Manny Medina
B06: Dan Jones
B05: Glenn Malone
B04: Gwynn Williams
B03-B00: Sean Gurley

Academy/Academy II Girls (U14-U19)
Carl Higham (Director of Girls)
Michael Duggan (Director of Operations)

Academy/Elite Boys (U12-U19)
Glenn Malone (Director of Boys)
Steve Cowell (Technical Director)

DIRECTOR of GOALKEEPING – Guillermo Rodriguez | to view VIDEO CLICK HERE

Boys Pathway

Girls Pathway