CARSON, Calif. — When 17-year-old midfielder Pedro Ocampo first heard of the Sueño MLS – presented by Allstate tryouts in Dallas, he never imagined himself making it as far as he has: to the Final Event.
The Sterling, Ill., native traveled to Dallas, did well, and he has now flown to Southern California. He is missing a few days of classes Sterling High School to come west for the trials at the Home Depot Center. His parents emphasized that his absence from school meant he needed to recognize the importance of the opportunity.
“Before I left Sterling, my mother and father had a long talk to me,” Pedro said. “They weren’t too happy that I’d be missing school so they made it clear that this is a blessing from God and that this is an opportunity I should take very serious.”
The finalists, who will face the LA Galaxy youth academy in a series of scrimmages, had the opportunity to work with ex-MLS standouts Jeff Agoos and Guillermo Barros Schelotto, an experience which Ocampo considers has already made a change in his perception of the game.
“All this gives me a different outlook as far as the sport goes,” Ocampo said. “The last couple of days I’ve experienced how the pros train, how they think and even if I don’t win, I’ll go back home a changed person, but most of all a more experienced player.”
It is not all good, though. Despite the excitement of being in the Final Event, Pedro is disappointed that his twin brother Solomon didn’t make it past the Dallas tryouts.
“I was pretty sad,” Pedro said. “This is the first time we have been apart from each other; we’ve always played together, whether it’s for our club team, in high school or in the backyard. I have a few friends that made it from the Dallas tryouts but it just doesn’t compare to having my brother with me. He’s my best friend.”
But, in fact, Pedro does have a brother with him. His older brother Graciel joined him for the trip to Los Angeles and has been his biggest fan during the trials.
“It’s an amazing thing,” Graciel said. “We’re all proud to see my little brother training with the likes of Agoos and Barros Schelotto. There is no way I was going to let him come here alone.”