Sueño: Miles from home, goalkeeper tries his luck again

TUKWILA, Wash. — When it comes to persistence, few can match Hector Palos-Jasso.

The 17-year-old goalkeeper from Philadelphia tried his luck at Sueño MLS presented by Allstate in 2011, when the annual tryout competition was in his hometown. On that occasion, he didn’t reach the second day of tryouts.

Undeterred, this year, he traveled 2,778 miles away from home, convinced that the sacrifice and hard work would pay off.

And then it did. After a strong first day, he was one of the 30 players called back for the Sunday sessions.

“To be honest my heart almost stopped for the simple fact that the coaches saw something in me,” Palos told MLSsoccer.com.

Despite his surprise, Palos exudes a great deal of confidence. A member of the Penn Fusion Soccer Academy, he has been working toward his goal of becoming a professional player since he was a child, when he would sit with his father watching games on television.

Now he’s closer to being one of the players on TV, and he’s being noticed by people with the power to help him get there.

“The question that we ask ourselves is if down the road these kids can become professional soccer players,” Darren Sawatzky, Seattle Sounders Youth Development Director, told MLSsoccer.com. “I feel Héctor showed some of those qualities. He has a professional mentality and if he keeps that up, he will get far.”

Whether he gets to next month’s Sueño MLS Final Event — the 5 or 6 finalists will be announced this Sunday on Univision’s “Republica Deportiva” — remains to be seen. But either way, Palos feels he’s already succeeded.

“I remember being four years old and picturing myself on television, playing, stopping penalties,” he said. “It’s a dream that seems a little closer than it did before. Just the fact that the Seattle Sounders coaching staff saw something in me tells me that all the work I’ve put in is paying off.”