Player countdown: Sergio Flores
How it all came to be...
It was at the age of 16 that Real Salt Lake defender Sergio Flores started his journey as a professional soccer player by moving to Argentina with his older brother Zachary to play for Club Atletico Chacarita Juniors reserves of the Argentine Primera A.
Flores spent two years with Chacarita Juniors before transferring to La Paz, Bolivia to play for El Tigre in the La Liga Professional Bolivia when he was 18-years old. It was while he was playing for El Tigre that he heard word that Major League Soccer (MLS) was bringing a team to Salt Lake City. Soon after the announcement, he found out via an e-mail from his mom that his former U-17 coach, John Ellinger, would be joining RSL as its head coach.
Immediately Flores contacted Ellinger to declare his interest in joining the new MLS team in Salt Lake City. Flores talked to Ellinger and was told that there was interest in having him on the team. Ellinger put Flores contact with RSL General Manager Steve Pastorino and they began talks about bringing him home to play in his native Utah. In early November 2004, Flores was given his players card by El Tigre, which meant that the Bolivian team no longer had his rights. This allowed Flores to pursue the opportunity to play for Real Salt Lake.
Earlier in preseason training camp, Flores was moved from forward to defender - a switch Ellinger made years ago with Jonathan Spector on the U.S. U-17 level. Spector now calls Manchester United home.
Coach Ellinger's Call...
"I have known Sergio Flores for sometime, and he's made his forte as an attacking player, but for us we've made him a defensive player. He has great pace, his recovery when players get behind him is excellent and he stops a lot of potential attacks. He took to the position naturally and we couldn't be happier with his progress. We are very excited about what he brings to our program."
Field Vision: Midfielder Evan Whitfield says...
"Sergio Flores a very nice guy and he has a lot more experience than his years let on. He is very versatile and that's why Ellinger tried him in the back. He has great pace, good recovery speed and is good on one-on-ones against attacking players. He has great potential and he is getting used to the style of play. The opportunities to play in South America, living by himself and living on his own have built him into the player that he is. I think that this is a player that with some time in the League could contribute regularly in MLS."
Things you need to know...
Parents, Willy and Chris Flores, and three siblings: Zachary, Nastassja and Gabriella.
Favorite soccer player:
Reading, listening to music, running
Most memorable moments:
Playing for the U-15 and U-20 national teams, Playing professionally in Argentina and Bolivia
"It's Not About the Bike" by Lance Armstrong
Favorite TV show:
CSI Miami and CSI New York