Three Cuban Defectors Training with the LA GalaxyBy: Laurie | April 9th, 2008
Remember the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic qualifiers last month, when seven young men (and one coach) from the Cuban U-23 team defected in Florida?
Three of them turned up this week in California, training with the LA Galaxy.
Three new faces joined the Galaxy in training this week as goalkeeper Jose Manual Miranda (center), midfielder Yordany Alvarez (right) and defender Yenier Bermundez (left) made the trek from Florida to Southern California. All three players come to the Galaxy after defecting from the Cuban U-23 team during the Olympics qualifiers a month ago.
If you were following the U-23 tournament, the Cuban team was the one that held the US to a draw — its only non-win of the tournament aside from the final. The goalkeeper, Miranda, was especially impressive, and Bermundez was the team captain. The Galaxy could do a lot worse, assuming the players can leap the bureaucratic hurdles.
As we said before, these players wouldn’t be the first Cuban defectors to play in MLS. In fact, they admitted in a post-tournament interview that 2005 defector and current Chivas player Maykel Galindo was the role model for their plan.
“He not only influenced me but influenced all of us who made the decision,” said Jose Manuel Miranda through a translator.
No word at the moment on where the other four players have ended up, although the USL teams Miami FC and Puerto Rico Islanders initially expressed interest.
Wonder if these guys have any clue what a developmental player makes in MLS?