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Julian Araujo is headed to Poland after all.

The Lompoc native, who signed his first professional contract with the L.A. Galaxy earlier this year, was added to the United States Youth National Team roster for the FIFA U20 World Cup, which begins this week in Poland.

The United States U20 team, made of the nation's top players under 20 years of age, is scheduled to begin play in the tournament Friday against Ukraine's U20 team.

"It means the world to me, obviously," Araujo said. "Everything happens for a reason."

Julian Araujo is 17 years old and, yet, he's already making waves in the MLS. The Lompoc native made his second start in the MLS Wednesday night. However, Araujo's play didn't match that of a first-year player who isn't even old enough to vote. The defender from Lompoc was, perhaps, the best player on the pitch, snuffing out attacking runs from Minnesota United forwards, then racing back down on the wing to help set up his LA Galaxy's offense.

Araujo, 17, was initially left off the 23-man U.S. roster for the World Cup. He was injured in a Galaxy game a week before the final roster was selected by U.S. skipper Tab Ramos. He was left on the provisional 50-man roster, which allowed him to be selected Tuesday after Ayo Akinola, a Toronto FC forward, suffered an ankle injury.

Araujo, a right back, has made five appearances for the Galaxy.

The Lompoc native played two years of soccer and even played football at Lompoc High before transferring to the Barca Academy in Arizona and eventually signing with the Galaxy. He made his first professional start on April 19 with the Galaxy against the Houston Dynamo in a game played in Carson.

"It's every kid's dream of playing in a World Cup and it's a blessing to be able to turn my childhood dream into a reality," Araujo said. "I will forever cherish this opportunity and I will go out there and give my very best to the team."

The U.S. is in Group Day with Nigeria, Ukraine and Qatar. 

After playing Ukraine on Friday, the U.S. is scheduled to play Nigeria on Monday, May 27 and Qatar on Thursday, May 30. Friday's game is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. PST. 

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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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