FRISCO, Texas — Several players stood out on the Pizza Hut Park fields Sunday morning as the number of Sueño MLS participants was whittled down from 400 to 24. Among them was Brian Garcia, whose long hair appeared to get in the way of his vision every time he ran.
Aside from his long locks, Garcia (pictured above with FC Dallas' David Ferreira) is one of the youngest and smallest participants in the Dallas leg of Sueño MLS 2011 – presented by Allstate.
Garcia, who turned 13 last Halloween, is the second-youngest player of Sunday’s remaining 24 and also the shortest player on the pitch by many inches.
He's a quiet kid who lets his soccer skills do all the talking.
Garcia’s soft touch on the ball, upfield vision and clever passing caught the attention of the FC Dallas coaching staff, including the director of player development, Oscar Pareja.
“I have seen him a couple of times before and he is a kid who has talent. It’s natural for him,” said Pareja before the finalists were named. “You can tell that he stands out from the others despite of his age.”
Garcia — who lives in Dallas after spending his earlier years living near Mexico City — does have a family background in soccer.
His father, Alberto "Guameru" Garcia, is an ex-Mexican national team member and veteran of Mexican top-flights teams such as Monterrey, Puebla and Chivas de Guadalajara.
“You can tell that he is a good player and obviously he has that in his genes since his dad was a big-time player in Mexico,” said Pareja. “I’m enjoying watching him here at Sueño.”
[inline_node:333611]For the younger Garcia, the sport wasn’t always appealing to him.
“I didn’t like football, then when I was watching my dad I started to like it a lot,” said the soft-spoken teenager.
Garcia is a midfielder who likes to get forward because he “likes to score goals” and cites Cristiano Ronaldo as his favorite player.
“I like him because he runs fast and makes a lot of moves,” said Garcia.
But the quiet and confident Garcia, who started playing when he was 6 years old, would not say much more.
While other players drank water and Gatorade during brief breaks from play, Garcia kept to his own, focusing on the task at hand.
When asked if he could see the ball behind his long, dark hair, he simply responded, “I can see.”
Clearly he can, as he impressed the coaching staff on day one with his calmness on the ball and ability to slot the right pass forward to the attacking players.
But Garcia said he knows he still has much to learn in soccer, particularly after an event like Sueño.
“I understand that I have to work harder,” Garcia said.
And if Garcia is to continue in Sueño and make it to a FC Dallas youth team, then the hard work will just be getting started.
Did Brian Garcia make the Sueño MLS 2011 – presented by Allstate final? Find out on Sunday, April 17 when the finalists are unveiled on Univision’s “Republica Deportiva.”