NEW YORK - Millions of aspiring young soccer players dream of putting on a uniform, stepping on the manicured pitch of a professional stadium, posing for the traditional team photo, and even scoring the winning goal. In February and March of 2007, Major League Soccer will turn that fantasy into reality for at least one talented player when it presents Sueño MLS: "Chivas USA Wants You," a month-long quest through a nationally-televised open tryout on Univision's popular sports show, "República Deportiva", to earn a contract with one of MLS' favorite teams - Club Deportivo Chivas USA.
Presented by The Home Depot, Sueño MLS kicks off the weekend of Friday, February 16 with four days of open tryouts at the Bell Gardens Sport Center in Los Angeles County, California. Pre-registration is now open to players 16 and older at www.SuenoMLS.com and only 2,000 spots will be made available on a first come, first serve basis.
The Chivas USA coaching staff will invite back 60 players to a second tryout on Saturday, February 24. "The Final 24" will compete on Saturday, March 3 for a two-week contract with Chivas USA, a chance to train with the team, and possibly earn a roster spot. "República Deportiva," the highest-rated weekly sports magazine program on Spanish-language television in the United States which airs nationally every Sunday at 11 AM ET(12 NOON PT), will follow the action every week in a unique "reality show within a show" format, culminating on Sunday, March 25, with the announcement of the Sueño MLS winner, who will also receive adidas equipment and a special family ticket package to Chivas USA's home games at The Home Depot Center.
"Chivas USA is serious about giving back to the community and providing opportunity to talented young players, and Sueño MLS represents a wonderful chance to widen our search," said Chivas USA president and co-owner Antonio Cué. "As with many 'Sangre Nueva' (New Blood) tryouts we have held in the past, we look forward to young players showing their best skills, dedication and professionalism as they work towards their very own 'Sueño MLS'."
In the 11 year history of Major League Soccer, several players were introduced to the league through an open tryout format. Real Salt Lake midfielder Kevin Novak, for instance, was discovered in a 2005 open tryout. He has since played in 29 games for the team, with 27 starts. Stephen Keel, who was discovered during a Colorado Rapids open tryout in 2005, helped the Rapids reserve squad win the MLS Reserve Division championship in 2006.
Chivas USA, in just its third year in MLS, boasts several players who have joined the team through tryouts. Midfielder Carlos Borja, Defender Éder Robles and Forward Estuardo Sánchez all joined Chivas USA's 28-man roster team after catching the eye of the club's U-19 coaches. Midfielder Francisco "Panchito" Mendoza was discovered by Chivas USA's sister team, Chivas de Guadalajara, through an open tryout in Mexico in 1999. Last season Mendoza started 31 games for Chivas USA.
"I'm proof that if you have the talent, you can be discovered and make a career in soccer," said Mendoza. "Sueño MLS will give young players the same opportunity I had, to show off their skills and make their dreams come true."
SUEÑO MLS KEY DATES:
February 16 - 19: (President's Weekend); Open Tryouts (max 2000 players)
February 24: Training for 60 Finalists
March 3: Training for "The Final 24"
March 12 - 25: Two-week trial with Chivas USA
March 25: Announcement of Player Signing
Eligible players must be at least 16 years old (with appropriate identification) and retain their amateur status. Sueño MLS participants will be responsible for all personal expenses associated with the event, including travel to Southern California, lodging, food, soccer equipment (shoes, training gear, etc.), etc. For more information, please visit www.SuenoMLS.com. Participation in the event is free.