From Strikers FC to the LA Galaxy and Beyond
For all the youth players practicing hard by day and dreaming of pro careers at night, the career trajectory of MLS stars like Steven Gerrard and Andrea Pirlo may be a little hard to imagine.
Anfield and the San Siro must seem a million miles away from the playing fields of Mission Viejo or East Rutherford.
But today another, home grown role model is celebrating a dramatic path to the pros that should give hope to every serious young player.
The LA Galaxy announced that it has signed defender Dave Romney, who was playing just a few years ago in the US Soccer development Academy with Irvine’s Strikers FC.
Romney, 22, is the first LA Galaxy II player ever to sign an MLS contract with the parent team.
Just one year ago, he was playing as an amateur for San Francisco FC and he admits to amazement at his swift rise in an interview for the Galaxy, saying: “I haven’t really thought of it too much, it’s all still pretty surreal. I’ve just kept even-keeled and focused each day at a time.
“It’s crazy. Growing up, I watched these guys playing on TV and going to games to see them play. It’s pretty surreal to train with them and see them in the locker room.
“My friends and family are calling me telling me how this journey has been insane but I haven’t thought about it yet. I don’t know when it’s going to hit me but it’s pretty amazing. I learned that I was the first USL player to play after the Houston game and I was pretty shocked,” Romney admitted.
“It’s a fresh program but a lot of the guys with Galaxy II will be here soon in the coming years. You’ll see a lot of that team up here with the first team. It’s a great program to start and it was LA to pioneer it.”
LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena gave Romney his vote of confidence, saying: “Dave is an athletic and versatile defender who provides depth to our backline. Curt Onalfo has done a tremendous job developing players with LA Galaxy II and we are excited to see Dave continue to develop as a player.”
Romney had played 17 games with LA Galaxy II in USL this season to help lead them to a tie for first place in the USL Western Conference standings before signing with LA Galaxy.
He made his debut in the MLS on Saturday, July 25 in Houston on loan from Los Dos after two International Champions Cup games against Club America and FC Barcelona.
Born and raised in Irvine, the defender attended the University of San Francisco, where he earned multiple honors during his four-year standout career, including All-West Coast Conference Second Team (2014), West Coast Conference All-Academic Team (2014), West Coast Conference All-Academic Team Honorable Mention (2013), All-West Coast Conference Honorable Mention (2012, 2011) and 2011 West Coast Conference All-Freshman Team.
But Romney admits he still had to keep working at his game and there wasn’t any easy rides.
“My college coach told me that I wasn’t going to wow anyone at a training session or at a combine which I didn’t but if I got into a system, trained consistently and kept getting looks then coaches will see that and like you a lot. That’s what happened here,” Romney said. “Now I just want to get on the field and play now.”