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Julian Araujo is officially a member of the LA Galaxy.

The Lompoc native has signed his first professional contract, the MLS club announced Friday morning. 

Araujo, 17, was selected off waivers after trading $50,000 in Targeted Allocation Money to the Colorado Rapids for the No. 1 spot in the Waiver Order in an earlier transaction, according to the club. 

In a statement released on the team's wesbsite, LA Galaxy general manager Dennis te Kloese said: “Julian is one of the best young defenders in Southern California and we’re thrilled that he’s chosen to begin his professional career with the LA Galaxy. When we have Academy players like Julian that are good enough for the first team, we will sign them to the first team. Our club’s structure and mentality will allow a young player like Julian to develop into a top first-team talent. We would also like to thank Santa Barbara Soccer Club and Barca Residency Academy for their role in his development as a person and a player.” 

Araujo spent two years at Lompoc High, playing soccer and football for the Braves, before heading to the Barca Academy in Arizona in 2017. He earned All-West Conference Best XI honors as a defender.

Araujo also spent time playing for the Santa Barbara Soccer Club and the Barca Academy, which is located in Casa Grande, Arizona.

Araujo's former high school soccer coach Marco Vargas expressed his excitement about his former player advancing in the MLS ranks. 

"Definitely very happy and excited for him," Vargas said by phone on Friday. "He has shown his work ethic and knowledge of the game at each phase of his young career. So it makes me very proud knowing that his coaches saw that in him. Now at the Galaxy, I wish him all the best. The sky's the limit for him." 

Araujo and the LA Galaxy kick off the 2019 season with their home opener at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson when they host the Chicago Fire on Saturday at 5 p.m.

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Joe Bailey is the sports editor at Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Contact him with tips and story ideas at jbailey@leecentralcoastnews.com or (805) 739-2239. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jbaileysmsports

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