"Sueno" changes last name to Villafana to honor mother
The story of Jorge "Sueño" Flores is well known.
In 2007, the spunky teenager from Orange County won the inaugural "Sueño MLS" competition, earning a roster spot with Chivas USA. A short time later, he made his first-team debut for the Rojiblancos, inspiring the Spanish nickname “Sueño,” or dream.
Now, meet Jorge Villafaña: new name, same Sueño.
Raised by his mother, Villafaña has had little contact with his father since birth. So when the 22-year-old could afford to change his last name, he opted for his mother's name over his father's.
“I've always wanted to have my mother's last name,” Villafaña told MLSsoccer.com in a phone interview on Monday. “She was the one that raised me since I was a kid, and I felt that I should have her last name and make it famous.”
Although Villafaña formally made the switch in November, word did not become public until last week, when he was selected by US Olympic coach Caleb Porter for the team's 28-man camp in Florida.
The camp, which begins on Thursday, will be Villafaña’s second stint with the national team and his first since the 2009 U-20 World Cup, where he made two starts for the American side in Egypt.
“It's a great opportunity,” he said. “I didn't expect that they were going to call me, but when I got the call, I knew that I had to take advantage of this opportunity because it's a big one.”
The call-up comes on the heels of Villafaña's most productive season yet during his four-year MLS career. After bouncing in and out of the lineup, the 22-year-old flourished in Robin Fraser's system.
In 2011, he quickly became Fraser's first-choice option at left wing, starting a career-high 24 matches, scoring a goal and adding an assist. He admitted that he knows little of Porter, but consulted Akron alums Zarek Valentin and Ben Zemanski for background on the Zips head coach.
Now, as Villafaña looks to bring fame to his mother's name, he is prepared to give it his all in hopes of obtaining the Olympic dream.
“I'm just looking to do what he wants to do and play how he wants to play,” Villafaña said of Porter. “I just want him to know that I'm a good left-sided player who can play in the midfield and in defense. Also, that I work hard and give everything that I have on the field.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.