CARSON, Calif. (Wednesday, July 25, 2007) - Chivas USA today announced that Sueño MLS Winner Jorge Flores, the 17-year-old native of Anaheim, California, who earlier this year earned a spot on Chivas USA's Under-19 Team via a nationally televised open tryout for Major League Soccer's Mexican-owned, Los Angeles-based club, has signed his first professional contract with the Red-and-White. Flores, a talented left-footed forward and 2007 graduate of Anaheim High School, joins Chivas USA's 28-man roster as a Developmental Player, following a standout four-month stint with the Chivas USA U-19's and a month-long trial with Chivas USA's first team.
"On behalf of Chivas USA, I would like to welcome Jorge Flores to our 28-man roster. Although Jorge is still at an early point in his career, we have been monitoring his progress over the last four months, as he has shown well with our U-19's," said Chivas USA Head Coach Preki. "We look forward to his continued development in our day-to-day training environment here at Chivas USA."
"I want to thank Chivas USA for this opportunity. For me, I'm starting all over again from zero, as I get ready to prove myself as a professional player. I'd also like to thank my family and friends for their support, not just since Sueño MLS, but from the beginning of my soccer career," said Flores.
Born September 16, 1989 in Anaheim, Flores spent his childhood in Pénjamo, Guanajuato, before returning as a teenager to Southern California, where he was a standout and team MVP at Anaheim High School and with Santa Ana DSP Juventus of the Coast Soccer League, winning the Harvest Cup and California Cup in 2006. In March 2007, Flores reached national prominence when he was officially named the winner of 'Sueño MLS: Chivas USA Wants You!', a nationally televised open tryout held by Chivas USA and Major League Soccer in which more than 2,000 participants competed for a spot on Chivas USA's roster.
"We are pleased to see Jorge sign his very first professional contract with us at Chivas USA. Our club believes that, to discover America's soccer stars of tomorrow, we needn't look any further than our own backyard," said Chivas USA President and Co-Owner Antonio Cué. "We trust that Jorge will be one of many talented Chivas USA players to emerge from our rapidly expanding youth development system in the years to come."
After joining the Chivas USA's U-19's in March as the squad's youngest member, training weekly at the Bell Gardens Sports Center in Bell Gardens, California, Flores continued to defy the odds, as he was named to the U-19's June trip to Guadalajara, Mexico. There, the 18-player squad faced the Segunda División and Primera 'A' sides of Mexican First Division clubs Atlas and Tecos UAG, as well as of Chivas USA's parent club, Chivas de Guadalajara. Flores would lead the team in scoring during six-day the trip, registering three goals as the team compiled a 1-1-2 record (W-L-T). Following the trip, Flores was invited to try out with Chivas USA's 28-man roster, starting on June 25.
"Since we first observed him during Sueño MLS, Jorge has shown the same quality, hard work and positive mentality that our scouts noticed back in March," said Chivas USA Director of Soccer Dennis te Kloese. "Jorge's standout performance in our U-19's trip last month, where he showed his quality against Chivas, Atlas and Tecos - and even caught the eye of a few Mexican clubs - only helped solidify this decision for us."
On Tuesday, Flores traveled to New Jersey with Chivas USA's first team. He is eligible for selection to the 18-player gameday roster for tomorrow night's match against the New York Red Bulls, live on ESPN2 and KTNQ 1020 AM at 4:00 p.m. PT / 7:00 p.m. ET (Pregame show starts @ 3:30 p.m. PT on KTNQ).
Organized by Chivas USA and Major League Soccer, 'Sueño MLS: Chivas USA Wants You!' was a nationally-televised open tryout to find the best undiscovered young soccer player in the nation. Held for the first time from Feb. 16 to March 25, 2007, the inaugural competition was featured as a unique 'reality show within a show' each week during República Deportiva, Univision's top-rated Sunday sports program. Officially launched on Jan. 28 with a nationally-televised announcement on República Deportiva, Sueño MLS attracted 2,000 sign-ups within eight hours via online registration at SuenoMLS.com, with 4,000 more hopefuls joining a waiting list in the subsequent days. The 6,000 total registrants hailed from 45 states and 25 foreign countries.
The open tryouts took place the weekend of Feb. 16-19 at the Bell Gardens Sports Center in Los Angeles County, California. The 2,000 aspiring players were greeted by a multitude of fans, while the event gained extensive media coverage, both locally and nationally. Only 60 players moved on to the semifinals a week later at Bell Gardens. On March 3, the "Final 24" competed in games against Chivas USA's Under-19 squad at The Home Depot Center's magnificent soccer stadium, with Flores scoring the lone goal for the U-19's. From that group, five talented players, including Flores, were invited to a two-week trial with Chivas USA.
Following an intense two-week trial, Jorge Flores was named the inaugural Sueño MLS Winner - earning himself a spot on Chivas USA's U-19 Team - live from the Miami studios of República Deportiva on Sunday, March 25, 2007, where he was presented with his very first Red-and-White jersey by Chivas USA Director of Soccer Dennis te Kloese.