Eighteen-year-old forward Birnis Adames has been named the winner of Sueño MLS 2011 – presented by Allstate nationally-televised player search competition, and will receive an invitation to join one of the Philadelphia Union’s youth Academy teams.
In addition, 16-year-old goalkeeper Anthony Hall was named the “Good Hands” top goalkeeper – El Portero Allstate after a tough competition against two other aspirers. He will have a chance to join the FC Dallas Youth Academy.
"I'm very happy and even though I won the competition, I couldn't have done it without the rest of the team,” said Adames (pictured above on the left). “I can honestly say that I'm going to give my best to become a professional.”
The speedy striker, who was born in the Dominican Republic but hails out of Camden, N.J. – part of the area which houses the Union – is the sixth player to win Sueño MLS. Adames emerged from a pool of 1,200 players that participated in regional tryouts in Dallas, Chicago and Philadelphia. He joined the Top 18 for four days of intense pro-style training in Dallas under MLS technical director Alfonso Modelo, and impressed by scoring four goals in two games en route to being awarded the top prize.
"Birnis Adames showed a lot of consistency over the four days in Dallas,” said Mondelo. “He is a player who took advantage of the opportunities he had. He scored four goals in two games and showed he is up for big challenges. Adames is very fast and crafty, has good height and he's got nose for the goal. Plus, he became an instant leader who quickly organized the group and joined them together.”
Adames was officially presented as the winner on Sunday during the live broadcast of “República Deportiva,” the popular weekly Spanish-language sports show on Univisión. Together with Adames, and for the first time in the history of Sueño MLS, Hall was officially presented the “Good Hands” top goalkeeper – El Portero Allstate award.
"Anthony is a very vocal goalkeeper, with a strong personality to organize the defense. His abilities with his hands as well as his feet are outstanding", said Adolfo Rios, a veteran of the Mexican national team and Mexican powerhouse Club América, and one of three “celebrity” scouts that assisted Mondelo.
Hall, who reached the semifinals of Sueño MLS Houston in 2010, beat out two youngsters to earn the first-ever El Portero Allstate prize this year. During the final event, the goalkeeper played two games against the FC Dallas Academy and managed to keep his goal scoreless.
"It was very tough, because the other two goalkeepers were really good, but I want to thank the coaches for all their support and advice, which allowed me to stand where I am right now,” said Hall.