U.S. Youth National Teams

Bowen to sign with Galaxy and become first youth academy grad in MLS history


The Los Angeles Galaxy will become the first team in Major League Soccer to sign a graduate straight from its youth academy when it officially signs forward Tristan Bowen, sources with knowledge of the deal told SBI on Monday.

The deal, a Generation adidas contact, will make Bowen the first player to graduate from youth academy level to the professional level since MLS began its player development initative after the 2006 season. It remains unclear when the club will formally announce the signing, but sources have confirmed that the club has agreed to a deal with Bowen.

Bowen will train with the Galaxy but cannot play in any games since the signing will have taken place after the Sept. 15 MLS roster freeze date.

Bowen was the first player to sign with the Galaxy’s player development program, Galaxy Rios, back in 2007. A U.S. Under-18 national team striker, Bowen first caught the Galaxy’s attention when he attended a team tryout as a 16-year old and made the final cut before the club realized he was underage.

The MLS Player Development Initative is set up to encourage teams to set up and cultivate youth academy programs for the purpose of developing talent that can be added to senior rosters. Under the curent guidelines, MLS teams can sign as many as two academy graduates a year (academy graduates are defined as players who have spent at least two years in a team’s youth academy program).

A team is allowed to sign and keep one academy graduate signed to a Generation adidas contract at any one time.

What do you think of this news? Share your thoughts below.

  • Angel

    Wow is about time that a team start signing it own growth player from their acadamy. now is only a matter of time to pay him a fair salary. I getting really tired of this Salary B.S. of the MLS, I been a supportive but I’m getting bored of this nonsense of only paying player less than 17,000 and not be able to bring other players cause the salary cap is only 2.3 millions Bull S. Come up MLS if you keep this you’ll see the rating keep falling down like the Economic of this country.. Please bring us a better product to the fields and then we can start putting more people in the statium. Raised that Salary at least 7-10million and bring that roster to 26 players


  • doug

    I wonder how Bruce feels about this. Remember he gave Marvell Wynne his pink slip even when Wynne was more a known commodity than this kid a No.1 pick, and youth international Arena is like Larry Brown in the NBA when it comes to playing young players. He wont do it unless he’s forced to. So the question is who forced this? Ives, readers, any thoughts appreciated


  • john


    That’s not neccessary true. Besides Wynne, he played Jozy with Red Bull year ago, Olsen while in DC and DMB/LD with the national team. I dont buy Bruce dont play younger players. If he’s good enough, he’ll play.


  • Dannyc58

    Cool. So then this winter they will tinker with the rules on signing academy players, and they then will either

    1)If the old rules are more favorable say that LA was “grandfathered in”

    2)If the old rules are less favorable make an exception for LA.


  • Soto

    Great, another forward. Just what we need.

    Seriously though, this kid could be useful if we lose Donovan. Or for trades to get real defenders.

    Really, the only thing upsetting me is that the photo above includes the Redhead Who Shall Not Be Named.


  • Modibo

    I just look at that picture and think there should be a caption above Lalas that says “Goddam do I look good.”


  • charlesj27

    Tristan Bowen has trained with the LA Galaxy senior squad off & on since August this year. He already has several goals on his sheet w/ the Galaxy RIOS (Youth Academy) games played so far. Whether or not Bruce will actually play him in next season’s games… That remains to be seen. Bruce does value experience over freshness. But, Bruce is the kind of coach where he has to be convinced inside that Tristan has the “goods”. I think Bruce has to face the music with what’s happening around this league as far as forwards. More and more teams are opting for “lightning” speed than classy / pictureque footwork. NE Revs has Nyassi, Mansally, and Dube. Columbus now have Rogers, Ekpo, and Nyazamba. DC United brought in Boyzzz Khumalo. NY Red Bulls now have Kandji, Magee, and Richards. One can’t deny what teams are going after. My guess is Bruce will want to do the same with the LA Galaxy. Whether or not Donovan will get his “long awaited sweet pricey deal” with a European club remains to be seen. But, if Donovan does leave, then LA Galaxy are in a much better position to actually do something decent with their backline.


    I was thinking the same thing as what you were thinking when you referring to the pic showing the “one who shall not be named”. Still makes my stomach convulse violently.


  • Steve

    I’m glad the Galaxy is the first to sign someone. It bodes well for MLS changing the only-one-signing rule sooner rather than later.


  • Tristan?


    Now all we need is a midfielder named Rene to get started on our all androgynous starting 11.


  • SonicDeathMonkey

    I’m hoping this signing will start a domino effect with other clubs signing their top prospects. Can DC United and Red Bull be far behind?


  • northzax

    angel: the kid is genad, he’s probably making $50k plus a scholarship if he washes out. That ain’t bad for an 18 year old. Good to see someone coming out of an academy, this is a nice boost to the Rios, too. Alone, right now, among clubs, they can point to the signing when talking to a recruit as evidence that potential and performance will be rewarded.

    I wonder if he had feelers from somewhere else and that’s why he was signed with so little time left? Or did they plan to sign him this winter and figures that a month of senior team practice would help the learning curve?


  • northzax

    and wait a minute, I thought you had to spend two years in the system, if Bowen signed in 07, how does that work?


  • SK


    Now all we need is a midfielder named Rene to get started on our all androgynous starting 11.

    Posted by: Tristan? | October 06, 2008 at 05:14 PM

    Hey what about me?

    Sasha Kljestan


  • RSLfan

    I think this could be a sign that Leiweke and company know that there are imminent changes to the Youth Academy signing rules.


  • Mike

    Hey I have seen this kid play, he has great ball skills, speed and a mature take on the game. He had other offers so I’m glad to hear he decided to stay here, Bruce will give him a shot. Good choice Galaxy


  • Eugene

    Great news, this is Bowen’s best shot of making it to the US youth national U-20s, and generally accelerating his development as a professional player. If he does well in LA and/or does well with the U-20s (if called), his career could really become something special.


  • Steph

    Johnny Exantus should have been the first to sign with MLS & NYRed Bulls and Generation Adiddas.. .. Instead he walk away from the Academy and Head over to a club in Belgium because of MLS stupid rules .. .. ..


  • Ethan

    Random question?

    The top four scorers in MLS are American. Has that ever happened before this late in a season?


  • LJ


    The crew is the best offense, and it is NOT built on speed. Sure, Rogers has speed, but has he been scoring all their goals?

    Moreno, Schelloto, Gaven, Moffat, Boswell, Noonan, Lenhart, Garey, and Evans are not pace players, come on.


  • northzax

    no, Steph, Exantus hasn’t signed with the RBs because the team doesn’t value him as much as the Galaxy value Bowen. it’s the same rulebook, the Gals looked at Bowen and figured he had a future with the club, more of a future than anyone coming up in the next two years. For better or for worse, they pulled the trigger. Osorio has chosen not to. If Exantus turns out to be a great player, and the club doesn’t sign anyone better in the next two years, that’s on Osorio. They have the same GenAd slot the Galaxy had, they’ve just chosen not to use it. only time will tell.


  • alex

    Red bulls could have done the same but were afraid to take a chance so now one season is almost done which would have meant we would be one year closer to signing another youth prospect to a GA deal. Bruce obviously is more invested in the American youth developmental system than Osorio. But wait…we got all those great signings that are helping us out now, who needs to develop players?!


  • Sounders FC Junkie

    Will Real Salt Lake sign James Rogers now? He led the SUM u-17 cup with 7 goals leading Real Salt Lake to the trophy. So what if he’s 15 years old?


  • James Rogers

    I am tiny and by no means ready to play with pros yet… but get excited for my future.



  • Steph

    Northzax … if MetroStars Ex-Coach Mo Johnson had his way … Johnny X-Man would have been the first play sign to Gene-X contract … the reason he was not, its because MLS did not want a foreign player to be the first player sign by Gen-X … they wanted an American player to be the first signing ..


  • Drew-ROC

    Good scoop Ives! This is why SBI is required reading for any true fan of soccer living in the United States.

    Hopefully things get changed up in the way Academy players can be handled with the pro teams.


  • brett

    its about times someone crapped rather then get off the pot…. glad to see LA and Bruce taking chances…. rather then tip-toe around hoping to not make a mistake… the rest of the coaches NEED to be more confident in their ability to access talent at that age… yes, its a different level of talent, but they should be able to judge the kids capability…


  • northzax

    Steph, what are you talking about? I assume for Gen-X you mean GenAd (Generation Adidas, late Project-40)? that program has been around since 1997 when Johnny X was roughly 9. As you no doubt know, the first two signings to Project-40 were Brian Dunseth (now of Hollywood United) and Joe(y)? DiGamerino (sp?) late of Metrostars, Leverkuesen and Colorado.

    of course, the second year of GenAd was much more effective, featuring Josh Wolff, Tim Howard and Ben Olsen.

    so what were you talking about again? by the time Mo was running MetroStars the program was already seven years old.


  • Steph

    Tristan Bowen became the first play sign from LAGalaxy youth academy into Generation Adidas contract .. …

    What am I talking about Northzax … I am talking about Johnny Exantus should have been the first player sign from the academy to MLS Club … Johnny should have sign an Adidas contract with MetroStars/NYRed Bulls …

    Thats what I am talking about … what are you talking about? ..


  • Fumar

    Wait, what is the age limit? I thought only international signings had an age limit, not domestic ones.


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  • Ceez

    AS FAR AS I KNOW, there was no talk of this kid coming up to the pro level from the academy. Well, no REAL talk, at least. All I’ve heard was how Matt Kassel or Johnny Exantus were close to being the first to come up. Now, out of the blue, comes Bowen.

    Anybody think this is just a little stunt by LA to have the distinction of being the first MLS team to sign a player from the academy? Just asking being how they’re the circus of the league and all…


  • Ramon

    Nice idea to distract the attention a little bit from the chaos the LA Galaxy have created. The only team that has done serious youth development in LA is Chivas USA, who have started it even before the MLS made it an obligation for its teams; better program, better people and better players @ Chivas for what I have seen the last weeks.


  • mike

    Hey I hear what you are saying Ramon about Chivas, they do have the best development program around. The LA Galaxy is a bit in the distance, however this Tristan kid is the REAL DEAL. The Galaxy luck out on this one.


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