Gyasi Zardes is top product of Galaxy’s youth academy, but is that good enough? – Orange County Register

Hawthorne favorite son and Galaxy homegrown star Gyasi Zardes – the most notable product of the club’s vaunted youth academy – unveiled two new mini-pitches this week at a ceremony before dozens of kids and local officials on abandoned former tennis courts at Jim Thorpe Park down the street from where he used to live.

At a brief ceremony at the new courts that boast a colorful mural with a larger-than-life rendition of the hometown hero looming over them, Zardes recalled cutting down the tennis net at his local park to make room for a decent-sized field he could play on with friends.

“My dad coached baseball here and while he was attending baseball practice with my siblings I used to come over here and use the wall to kick about,” Zardes recalled. “Over the years when I went to high school in my freshman year, a bunch of my buddies, we used to come over here and climb the fence just to play soccer on these fields just because we had been kicked out of the outfield of the baseball field.”

“Just looking back on that journey to where we are today (with) these two beautiful fields here right in our community where kids can come and have fun and play the beautiful sport without any trouble, really leaves me speechless,” he added.

Galaxy star and Hawthorne native Gyasi Zardes talks about playing on former tennis courts as a young boy. The city of Hawthorne, LA Galaxy and sponsor Herbalife unveiled two new mini-soccer pitches at Jim Thorpe Park Monday December 4, 2017.
Photo by Robert Casillas, Daily Breeze/SCNGThe ceremony came just days after the club got rid of a dozen or so members of the senior squad in yet another end of season clear-out.

Those players included the high-earning likes of outspoken veteran Jermaine Jones and journeyman Jack McInerney.

Gone are other familiar names such as all three goalkeepers who unimpressively shared first-team duties last season, Jon Kempin, Brian Rowe and Clement Diop.

Notably, many of those told their services were no longer required are former academy players who represented huge investments in time and money for the club.

They include Newport Beach…

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