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11/23 FINAL
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11/30 9:00pm
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Sueño MLS: A father's enthusiasm, a son takes advantage

BELL GARDENS, Calif. — Out of the 1,000 or so registered players that tried their luck at the Sueño MLS 2012 – presented by Allstate tryouts last weekend, 16-year-old defender Mauricio Gutierrez never imagined he’d make it as far as he did: the second day of tryouts and a real shot at making the Final Event.

Born in Ocotlan, Jalisco, he and his family moved to the US when he was 5 months. And since then, it seems, he has been preparing for this chance.

 “Ever since he was a very small child he’s always had something special about him,” his father, Eduardo Gutierrez, told MLSsoccer. “Other coaches were always trying to pull him into their teams because of his talent.”

That talent has mainly been employed helping his local club teams and the team at Locke High School. But now it might lead to something bigger, something “real,” as he sees it.

“On Saturday when I walked up, I was very excited. I saw MLS and Chivas USA banners everywhere, and I said to myself, ‘This is as real as it gets.’”

Mauricio and his younger brother Francisco — also tried out for Sueño MLS — have been playing together since they were little boys, picking up their passion for the game from their father. For the proud father, his enthusiasm of the opportunity afforded to his sons through the event was impossible to ignore.

“I come from humble beginnings,” he said. “As a child growing up in Ocotlan, we never had these types of opportunities. So the fact that my kids got the chance to participate and show off their talents to a professional team is exciting and very emotional to me.”

Obviously, the Gutierrez brothers have listened to their father. And though it didn’t work out for Francisco, Mauricio has seized the chance given to him.

“We all have the same passion, the same dream,” Mauricio said of his fellow Sueño MLS participants. “In a country like this one, opportunities like these will always come about. But it’s up to us to take advantage.”

Watch Univision's Republica Deportiva on Sunday to find out if Mauricio Gutierrez makes it to the Final Event.