Ex-Chivas USA star and official Socio MLS ambassador Juan Francisco ‘Paco’ Palencia visited the city of Los Angeles to help familiarize the soccer community there with the Socio MLS program and the positive effect it can have in the near future.
The Pumas UNAM and ex-Mexican international standout visited L.A.’s top Spanish-speaking television stations Univision, Telemundo and FOX Sports, to name a few, and spoke of what his role with Socio MLS has been thus far.
He also highlighted some of Socio MLS’ strong points and explained that what caught his eye the most was the fact that everyone involved in these leagues will benefit from this program.
“I’m an ambassador for Socio MLS and what I’m doing is promoting this program that I feel has been and will continue being supportive of Latin soccer community,” Palencia said. “The variety of gifts Socio MLS provides each league is great, but what I think caught my attention is the soccer clinics and the scouting events they offer these young players and what makes this program very unique is the support they also provide league referees and coaches”.
The Mexico City native also spoke of how Major League Soccer can benefit from the scouting events that Socio MLS will hold in Los Angeles and Houston, explaining that, “MLS will now be able to look beyond the countries universities for talent."
According to Palencia, Socio MLS’ timing has been perfect and will walk hand-in-hand with Major League Soccer’s efforts to continue building its youth divisions.
“I think Major League Soccer will greatly benefit from this program since many teams have just begun building their youth system and with Socio MLS, it will become easier to scout young talent from these amateur leagues that in the end can be potential MLS players.”
Palencia recalled his days in Cruz Azul youth system at age 13 before he made his professional debut in the Mexican First Division in 1994 at age 21. He added that a program like Socio MLS would have definitely made a difference in his career.
For "Paco," the fact that teams like Chivas USA and Houston Dynamo have become involved with the program gives young amateur players the chance to be around first division players and have the opportunity to build a strong link with MLS, which will have a great effect in the long run.
“A program like Socio MLS would have definitely helped me a bit more with my career. Any time you have the opportunity to be around first division players is a plus for any aspiring child who looks have career in professional soccer,” Palencia explains. “It’s fundamental because they will actually get to sit down with the pros and ask them questions, which I think is the best gift Socio MLS will provide theses leagues and its players.”