Rain, futsal for Sueño MLS hopefuls

FRISCO, Texas — Bad weather in the Dallas area caused the second round of MLS Sueño presented by Allstate to move indoors. A torrential downpour saw the coaches, players and their families scurry into nearby Field House USA, an indoor sports complex.

The heavy thunderstorms, however, couldn’t dampen the 29 second-round finalists’ enthusiasm. In fact, it might have made the whole even better.

“Due to the weather, we had to come indoors so it wasn’t a perfect scenario, but we made it work,” said FC Dallas Junior Academy coach Francisco Molina. “We didn’t play with a regular soccer ball because of the bounce of the ball, and we didn’t want that. We had to bring in six futsal balls that don’t bounce as much. We were able to get going with that, and it turned out better.”

The futsal balls forced the players to showcase their footskills in a way a regular ball might not.

Over 400 hundred teenagers showed up for round one of the Dallas-based Sueño MLS on Saturday morning, but the field was cut to down to 29 later that evening. With only the best of the best remaining, the rise in competitiveness was highly noticeable during Sunday’s three-hour long scrimmage.

“The 29 finalists are all great kids,” Molina said. “The competition got a lot better today. Since it’s the second round, they weren’t as nervous. We saw a lot of quality soccer.”

When FC Dallas striker Blas Perez and goalkeeper Richard Sanchez arrived and provided a break, there was a sparkle in every kid’s eyes. All of them had witnessed Perez fuel FC Dallas’ 2-1 comeback win over Montreal the night before and were excited to hear what the veteran forward had to say.

“It was inspiring to hear him because they’re professional soccer players,” said Christian Funes, a midfielder from Frisco. “They already have this experience so it was amazing. They told us to keep trying, even if we weren’t selected and to always have confidence in yourself.”

Of the 29 young hopefuls, six received player invitations to a week-long trial with their respective youth development host club and an invitation to the four-day “Final Event,” in Los Angeles next month. The six finalists will be revealed next Sunday on Univision’s “Republica Deportiva.”

“We had to re-vote three times,” Molina said of the selection process. “It was a good problem to have, but we finally agreed on the finalists. We’re happy with the players we voted for.”