Philadelphia finalists announced for Sueño 2011

CHESTER, Pa. – Major League Soccer and Philadelphia Union announced today the names of five talented young field players who will represent the club at this week’s national “Final Event” of Sueño MLS 2011 – presented by Allstate in Frisco, Texas May 5-8.Also named was the local finalist of the “Good Hands®” top goalkeeper - El Portero Allstate. The nationally-televised player search is showcased on “República Deportiva,” the popular Univision weekly Spanish-language sports show that chronicles the tryouts in a “reality show within a show” format.

The six standouts from the Union tryouts are:

Name

Position

Age

Hometown

Birnis Adames

Forward

18

Camden, NJ

Richy Amador

Midfielder

18

Santa Rosa, CA

Juan Cortez

Midfielder

15

Bridgeport, CT

Kevin Olaya

Midfielder

16

Elizabeth, NJ

Milton Rico

Midfielder

18

Philadelphia, PA

Gianluigi Mardoni

Goalkeeper

17

Sacramento, CA

The five field players, whose diverse backgrounds and personal stories were featured on “República Deportiva” this past Sunday, fought their way past more than 400 competitors in an open tryout to earn a week-long trial with the Philadelphia Union Academy, and a trip to the “Final Event,” where they will be joined by the FC Dallas and Chicago Fire finalists announced last week (names below). Gianluigi Mardoni, selected as the local “Good Hands®” top goalkeeper - El Portero Allstate, will also join the other two national goalkeeper finalists in Frisco, Texas later this week.

Now celebrating its fifth year, Sueño MLS 2011 – presented by Allstate was staged by three MLS clubs, including first-time host, Philadelphia Union, as well as returning hosts Chicago Fire and FC Dallas. Up to 400 tryout spots were made available at each city on a first come, first served basis.

In each city, players were battling for one of five invitations to a week-long trial with their respective youth development host club and an invitation to the exciting four-day “Final Event” which will be staged for the first time in the greater Dallas area. The finals will include training sessions, scrimmages, guest celebrity scouts, and an opportunity to meet some of the League’s biggest stars. The ultimate champion will be crowned on Sunday, May 8, live on “República Deportiva” (see calendar below for more information).

New to Sueño MLS for 2011 is the Allstate “Good Hands®” top goalkeeper award - El Portero Allstate. One goalkeeper at each of the three local tryouts will be selected as the top goalkeeper, and at least two of the three will be chosen to join the other local finalists at the national final. “El Portero Allstate” will be selected in addition to the Sueño MLS 2011 - presented by Allstate champion.

MLS partners participating in Sueño MLS 2011– presented by Allstate, also include adidas, Degree Men, Gatorade, Pepsi and Volkswagen.

ABOUT THE PHILADELPHIA UNION FINALISTS:

Birnis Adames (Forward - 18 years old - Camden, NJ)

Born in Santa Cruz de Mao, Dominican Republic, Birnis started playing soccer only four years ago. At the Philadelphia trials, he quickly caught the attention of the Union scouts who regard him as one of the best prospects in the competition. The Ronaldinho and FC Barcelona fan is an outstanding athlete whose speed makes him one of the players to watch during the “Final Event” in Texas. His older brother, Chanel, played for the Under-17 Dominican Republic National Team, and was a key factor in Birnis’ decision to change his focus from baseball to soccer. The Union coaches commented that Birnis reminded them of New York Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry because of his vision on the field.

Richy Amador (Midfielder – 18 years old - Santa Rosa, CA)

Born in Mexico City and a current resident of Santa Rosa, CA, Richy had to catch two flights to attend the Philadelphia event. The Union coaches selected him because of his impressive dribbling, which made him one of the most exceptional midfielders at the tryouts. Amador uses pink cleats to help attract the attention of the scouts.

Juan Cortez (Midfielder - 15 years old - Bridgeport, CT)

Juan was born in Santa Rosa de Osos, Colombia (north of Medellin), and currently resides in Bridgeport, CT. Juan not only stood out for his abilities in the midfield, but for being a humble individual who is willing to help his teammates. Coached by his father from a young age, their dedication paid off as the scouts caught Juan’s ability to place dangerous crosses, as well as recover balls in the midfield. His favorite player is Spanish World Cup champion Xavi, and his favorite club is FC Barcelona.

Kevin Olaya (Midfielder – 16 years old - Elizabeth, NJ)

Kevin was born in Elizabeth, NJ to a Colombian family, but lived in Cali, Colombia since he was one year old. A fan of Colombian side America de Cali and Argentine club Boca Juniors, Kevin believes Andres Iniesta is the best player in the world, and sees himself playing in Major League Soccer in the future. The Philadelphia Union scouts think he is a player who can easily work as a center midfielder, but has the ability to run through the flanks, creating more spaces for his team. He traveled to the trials with his father, who believes his son is a talented soccer player who will make a great impression at the National Final.

Milton Rico (Midfielder – 18 years old - Philadelphia, PA)

Colombian-born Milton Rico didn’t originally register for the tryouts, but rather, was part of the event staff working for Sueño MLS in Philadelphia. A former coach and friend spotted him at the event and encouraged him to sign up for the “walk-up” list. He played during the last hour of the tryouts, immediately catching the scouting group’s attention. Although he hadn’t played for the past six months because of broken nose, Milton stood out for his strength and vision of the game. His favorite player is former Colombian international and MLS superstar Carlos “El Pibe” Valderrama, and his favorite team is Colombian side Atletico Nacional.

Gianluigi Mardoni (Goalkeeper – 17 years old - Sacramento, CA) - Local Philadelphia Union winner of El Portero Allstate “In Good Hands®

Gianluigi was the participant who traveled the furthest to try out at Sueño MLS Philadelphia. Born in Rome, Italy, Gianluigi’s father is Italian, and his mother is Colombian. They moved to the U.S. when Gianluigi was six years-old, and he started playing soccer immediately. Many of his Italian and Colombian cousins have played in semi-professional leagues in their respective countries, and Gianluigi’s father (a professional racing car mechanic) had a similar experience to Sueño MLS many years ago with Italian side Fiorentina. Since he was very young, Gianluigi knew he was destined to become a goalkeeper, because of his height and vertical leap. Faryd Mondragón, Philadelphia Union captain and goalkeeper, said he chose Gianluigi as the top goalkeeper of the Union tryouts because of his impressive skills with his hands, feet and body movement. Gianluigi speaks fluent English, Spanish and Italian.

2011 TIMELINE

April 9-10 Local market tryouts (FC Dallas)

April 16-17 Local market tryouts (Chicago Fire)

April 23-24 Local market tryouts (Philadelphia Union)

May 5-8 “Final Event” in Frisco, Texas

May 8 Announcement of winner on Univision Network’s República Deportiva

FC DALLAS FINALISTS (previously announced)

Name

Position

Age

Hometown

Reyes Espino

Midfielder

15

Pharr, TX

Brian Garcia

Center Mid.

13

Dallas, TX

Jose Hernandez

Center Forward

15

Dallas, TX

Giovanni Moreno

Defender

14

Fort Worth, TX

Anthony Ortega

Center Mid.

16

Dallas, TX

Anthony Hall

Goalkeeper

16

Dallas, TX

CHICAGO FIRE FINALISTS (previously announced)

Name

Position

Age

Hometown

Franco Alcocer

Midfielder

17

Melrose Park, IL

Vicente Jaramillo

Forward

16

Detroit, MI

Javier Rojas

Midfielder

15

Warrenville, IL

Juan Salgado

Forward

17

Melrose Park, IL

Chrsitian Soto

Midfielder

15

Indianapolis, IN

Ian Chacon

Goalkeeper

14

Cicero, IL

PARTICIPANT ELIGIBILITY:

Eligible players must be between the ages of 14 and 18 years-old at the time of the competition or born in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, or 1997 with appropriate identification and retain their amateur status. Current collegiate student athletes will not be permitted to attend the final event in Frisco, Texas. Sueño MLS participants will be responsible for all personal expenses associated with the local market tryout, including travel to local tryouts, lodging, food, and soccer equipment (shoes, training gear, etc.). Program sponsors will cover all expenses for up to eighteen (18) participants selected to attend the final event in Frisco, Texas. For more information, please visit www.SuenoMLS.com. Participation in the event is free. Players may not register for more than one city.