CARSON, Calif. – And then there were six!
After a weekend of extensive tryouts, skill drills and testing parents’ patience from the sidelines, the LA Galaxy selected six players - five field players and one goalkeeper - to advance to the four-day national finals of Sueño MLS - presented by Allstate, May 9-12.
Sunday’s competition consisted on testing the passing, dribbling and other abilities of the players. At the end of the day, the youngsters played a 30-minute game before the finalists were revealed on a live broadcast of Univision's Republica Deportiva.
Heriberto Becerra (GK), Erick Bermudez, Daniel Crisostomo, Josue Soto, Joshua Varon, and Edgar Villalpando will return to the Home Depot Center for the national finals, vying to be the winner of the overall competition.
Watched by Galaxy legends Clint Mathis and Mauricio Cienfuegos and former Mexican international Felix Fernandez oversaw the final selection process, and Mathis and Fernandez helped with the announcement on TV.
Cienfuegos addressed the 30 players before the announcement, encouraging them all to continue working on their craft and striving to get better and take this as a part of a learning curve for their future.
For Mathis, this was his first year as a judge. He said he was impressed with the level of the talent on display and that the Galaxy is well represented at the national finals.
The national finals of Sueño MLS - Presented by Allstate will see 15 field players -- in addition to the five from LA, another five each from the Colorado and D.C. compeititons will arrive -- vying to win a chance to train with and earn a pro contract with an MLS club. Three goalkeepers, one from each city, willbe put through the paces with Fernandez in hopes of grabbing the Allstate Good Hands Award and the opportunity to train with an MLS team.
The overall winners will be announced live on República Deportiva on Sunday, May 12.
ABOUT THE LA GALAXY FINALISTS
Heriberto Becerra (Goalkeeper – 17 years old – Fontana, CA)
Local LA Galaxy winner of Allstate “Good Hands” top goalkeeper award – El Portero Allstate, Heriberto Becerra, will face two other goalkeepers for the opportunity to win the national title. The outspoken, confident and quick decision maker left a mark during the tryouts in Los Angeles. Becerra, who began to play soccer at the age of four, is grateful for this opportunity through Sueño MLS. The A.B. Miller High School student became a goalkeeper by mistake when his team was in need of a goalkeeper; from that day forward he hasn’t left the goal. The Mexican-American who is the youngest of three, is a fan of Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas and of LA Galaxy.
Erick Bermudez (Midfielder – 16 years old – South Gate, California)
Bermudez is a skillful attacking midfielder who is able to use both feet with equal ease and quickness. Born in Whittier, California and now residing in South Gate, California, the 16-year-old wants to become the next Sueño MLS winner. His soccer development began at the age of eight when his father enrolled him in a soccer team as a hobby. The Mexican-American’s favorite teams include Real Madrid and LA Galaxy and his favorite players are Cristiano Ronaldo and Landon Donovan.
Daniel Bruce Crisostomo (Midfielder – 16 years old – Chino, California)
A dynamic offensive midfielder, Daniel Crisostomo made an impact on the coaching staff during the tryouts with his ability to control the midfield and his recovery on tight spaces. Born in San Francisco but raised in Chino, California, the Peruvian-American is grateful for all the support his family has provided in making his dream come true. Crisostomo, the youngest of three brothers admires and follows the Peruvian National Team as well as Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
Josue Soto (Midfielder – 17 years old – Perris, California)
Josue Soto, a left footed forward impressed the coaches during the tryouts with his great attacking techniques and his ability to work in tight spaces. The Perris, California native hails from a Mexican soccer family and hopes to be an inspiration to his younger brother who also plays soccer. A loyal Pumas UNAM fan and the middle child out of three boys, Soto describes Andres Iniesta from FC Barcelona as his favorite player.
Joshua Varon (Midfielder – 16 years old – Bakersfield, California)
A calm left midfielder, Joshua Varon kept great ball possession and was competitive in the one-on-one challenges during the tryouts. Born and raised in Bakersfield, California, the 16 year-old was unstoppable during the tryouts which easily caught the attention of the coaches. Varon, who is of Mexican and Colombian heritage, admires Brazil’s Neymar and LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan. The youngest of three is also a fan of Germany’s Bayern Munich and follows Seattle Sounders FC in MLS.
Edgar Villalpando (Midfielder – 16 years old – Wilmington, California)
Edgar Villalpando is a powerful forward with an eye for passing and distribution who scored five goals during the Sueño MLS tryouts in Los Angeles. The Mexican-American from Wilmington, California was inspired to play soccer at a young age by his father. Villalpando is a fan of MLS and currently follows Chivas USA, where his cousin Carlos Alvarez plays. The 16-year-old is a fan of FC Barcelona and of the Argentine forward Lionel Messi. Villalpando dreams of one day becoming a great player like Messi.