Sueño MLS 2011 Finalists
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.
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.
Ian Chacón (Goalkeeper – 14 years old – Cicero, IL):
Local Chicago Fire winner of El Portero Allstate “In Good Hands®”. Ian was recognized as the top goalkeeper at the Chicago Fire local try-outs, and will compete for the national El Portero Allstate “In Good Hands®” award. Born in Coahuila, Mexico, the 14 year old is a tall goalkeeper who uses his height as an advantage. Chacon currently studies at Unity Junior High School, and belongs to a family of amateur goalkeepers. His favorite player is Spanish World Cup champion Iker Casillas, and believes that one day he will join him as part of the soccer elite. Although shy, Chacon stands out once he puts on the gloves and vocally manages a team’s defense. The most impressive aspects of his game, according to the coaches, are his ability to distribute the ball to anywhere on the field, and his composure when facing a 1-on-1 with older forwards.
Franco Alcocer (Midfielder – 17 years old – Melrose Park, MI):
Born in Córdoba, Argentina, Franco moved to the United States when he was only ten years-old. He attends the Provisol Math & Science Academy and his favorite subject is math. Franco’s favorite team is Argentina’s Boca Jrs. and his favorite player is midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme. He is the first in his family to ever play soccer, although they are all very passionate soccer fans. Franco has a keen ability to spread the ball around the field, which according to the Chicago Fire Academy coaches, has allowed him to become a natural playmaker.
Vicente Jaramillo (Forward – 16 years old – Detroit, MI):
A national finalist of Sueño MLS 2010, Vicente was one of the players that stood out in the rain and wind during the first day of scrimmages in Chicago. Jaramillo currently attends Western International High School and has been playing soccer since the age of six. The Detroit, Michigan product considers Argentinean international and Barcelona midfielder Lionel Messi his favorite player, however, when it comes to his favorite club, Jaramillo prefers Real Madrid. His skills with the ball in a reduced space made him one of the best forwards at the tryouts. His mother Blanca played amateur soccer since she was seven, and pushed him to try out for Sueño MLS 2011.
Javier Rojas (Midfielder – 15 years old – Warrenville, IL):
Javier is a fan of Mexican club Chivas and his favorite player is Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo. As a player he positions himself well, moving fluidly throughout the midfield and is capable of helping in the attack. Rojas attends Wheaton Warrenville South High School and loves to spend time with his family, especially when soccer is part of the day’s activities.
Juan Salgado (Forward- 17 years old – Melrose Park, IL):
Juan was spotted by the scouts in the afternoon of the first day of the Chicago tryouts, and immediately caught the coaches’ attention. This lethal striker scored four goals in only 20 minutes during the second and final day of his local tryouts. His favorite player is Lionel Messi and his favorite clubs are FC Barcelona and the Chicago Fire. Salgado plays for the Chicago Fire Juniors, attends Provisol East, and is friends with Franco Alcocer, another Chicago Fire Sueño MLS finalist. One of his uncles played in the Mexican third division.
Christian Soto (Midfielder – 15 years old– Indianapolis, IN):
Christian is a talented playmaker who lists Lionel Messi as his favorite player. He also admires Mexican player Cuauhtémoc Blanco, and became a fan of the Chicago Fire when Blanco played for the team. The Center Grove High School student stood out from the rest of the Sueño participants for his amazing abilities to deliver pin-point passes to his teammates and put them in a position to score. His father played professionally in Mexico.
Anthony Hall (Goalkeeper – 16 years-old– Dallas, TX):
Local FC Dallas winner of Allstate “Good Hands®” top goalkeeper award – El Portero Allstate. Anthony was recognized as the best goalkeeper at the FC Dallas local tryouts, and will compete for the Allstate “Good Hands®” top goalkeeper award at the national “Final Event”. A student at Bryan Adams High School, he once managed to stop four penalty kicks during the final match of a youth championship, allowing his team to win the competition. A tall and very vocal goalkeeper, his ability to lead and organize the defense from his goal impressed the scouting group. Anthony reached the local semifinals of Sueño MLS Houston in 2010.
Reyes Espino (Midfielder - 15 years-old – Pharr, TX):
Among the six FC Dallas finalists, Reyes is the one who traveled the farthest to make his dream come true. From Pharr, Texas – approximately 10 hours from Frisco (home of FC Dallas) – Reyes is a creative midfielder, who during the tryouts made very good decisions on the ball and showed great vision on the field.
Brian García (Center Midfielder – 13 years-old – Dallas, TX):
Brian was born in Querétaro, Mexico, and started playing soccer at the age of six. He goes to Frankford Middle School, and despite his age, he left a big impression with the FC Dallas scouts. His father, Alberto “El Guamerú” García, played professionally for Mexican clubs Monterrey and Chivas, while also suiting-up for the Mexican National Team. According to FC Dallas Academy coaches, Brian reminds them of former FC Dallas Colombian Midfielder Juan Toja. He has great skill with both feet. NOTE: Brian was born in 1997 and will turn 14 this year, making him eligible to participate.
José Hernández (Center Forward – 15 years-old – Dallas, TX)
Born in Mexico, José is a tall center-forward who is a constant threat in the attack. He started playing soccer at the age of five and currently attends Thomas Jefferson High School. He regularly plays against older youth players and adults, who admire his scoring abilities and dribbling skills. He is a natural goal-scorer, and possesses outstanding technical ability.
Giovanni Moreno (Sweeper - 14 years-old – Fort Worth, TX):
Giovanni was the second youngest player at the FC Dallas tryouts, but made an impact with his height. What struck the coaches most was his ability to play well at several different positions, and his ability to play with both feet. He attends Morningside Middle School, and according to Giovanni, Sueño MLS is the biggest thing that has ever happened to him.
Anthony Ortega (Center Midfielder – 16 years-old – Dallas, TX):
Anthony stood out for his enthusiasm during the trials. FC Dallas scouts noted his intelligence on the pitch and ability in the air. He was widely recognized as the top defensive midfielder at the FC Dallas tryouts. He plays varsity soccer for Woodrow Wilson High School and indoor soccer for a local club.