CARSON, Calif. (Tuesday, May 8, 2012) – Nearly 2,000 aspiring young soccer players competed in open tryouts across the United States, but only 18 regional winners will gather in Carson, Calif. this week hoping to impress celebrity scouts at the “Final Event” of Sueño MLS 2012 – presented by Allstate. The nationally-televised player search is being featured on the popular Univision weekly Spanish-language sports entertainment show República Deportiva, which will chronicle the tryouts in a “reality show within a show” format.
The last six finalists, who qualified at the hard-fought Chivas USA regional trials last week, were revealed today along with an event schedule for the “Final Event” (detailed below).
The Final 18 qualifiers from open tryouts at FC Dallas, Seattle Sounders FC and Chivas USA, will arrive in the Los Angeles area on Wednesday, May 9, for three days of intense competition, leading up to the live announcement of the national winners this Sunday, May 13 on República Deportiva (airs 10:55 a.m. ET [live]/noon PT). The 15 field players will be battling for the title of Sueño MLS 2012 – presented by Allstate champion and an invitation to join a MLS club’s elite youth team, while the three goalkeepers will be gunning for the national Allstate “Good Hands®” top goalkeeper award - El Portero Allstate and the opportunity to train with a MLS youth team.
Under the guidance of MLS Argentine soccer legend Guillermo Barros Schelotto, “Final Event” highlights include two scrimmages against LA Galaxy Academy teams, tactical and motivational lectures by current and former professional players, and a private meet-and-greet with Chivas USA stars. El Portero Allstate will be mentored by Mexican goalkeeping legend Adolfo Rios.
All competition events will take place at the Home Depot Center, one of the premier soccer facilities in the world. All events are open to the media.
“FINAL EVENT” SCHEDULE - Sueño MLS 2012 – presented by Allstate (ALL TIMES PT)
Wednesday, May 9:
- -Players arrive throughout the day; meet with celebrity judges/scouts
Thursday, May 10:
- 9 a.m. - Training @ Home Depot Center
- 11 a.m. - Visit to Chivas USA first team training session @ Home Depot Center
- 4 p.m. - Training @ Home Depot Center
Friday, May 11
- 9 a.m. - Scrimmage vs.LA Galaxy Academy @ Home Depot Center
- 4 p.m. - Training @ Home Depot Center
Saturday, May 12
- 9 a.m. - Scrimmage vs.LA Galaxy Academy @ Home Depot Center
Sunday, May 13
- 7:55 a.m. - Live broadcast and announcement of winners on Univision’s República Deportiva @ The Home Depot Center
Chivas USA Finalists:
|Jimmy Camacho||Goalkeeper||16||Riverside, CA|
|Armando Flores||Forward||17||Santa Ana, CA|
|Mauricio Gutierrez||Defender||16||Los Angeles, CA|
|Alejandro Núñez||Defender||17||Sylmar, CA|
|Oscar Vasquez||Midfielder||16||Las Vegas, NV|
|George Zuniga||Defender||16||Carson, CA|
CHIVAS USA FINALIST BIOS:
Jimmy Camacho (Goalkeeper – 16 years old – Riverside, Calif.) Local Chivas USA winner of Allstate “Good Hands®” top goalkeeper award – El Portero Allstate
Jimmy’s Sueño MLS experience might be unlike any other. The Citrus Hill High School standout recently lost one of his teammates and friends to lung cancer. “I felt that throughout the tryouts, he was with me in spirit, pushing me to do my best.” The wild-haired net-minder lists goalkeepers Guillermo Ochoa and Victor Valdez among his favorite players, but ironically, the Chivas USA Sueño MLS national finalist named LA Galaxy as his favorite MLS club.
Armando Flores (Forward – 17 years old – Santa Ana, Calif.)
Armando is no stranger to high-profile trials. The Santa Ana High School student trained for four months with the Club Atlas (Mexico) reserves after being discovered at a tryout in his hometown. Armando made the Sueño MLS national “Final Event’ despite having to register for the waiting list after all guaranteed spots were filled. When he got the call that he was advancing he commented that he “felt my dreams were coming true.”
Mauricio Gutierrez (Defender – 16 years old – Los Angeles, Calif.)
A Mexico-born defender, Mauricio says he learned to play soccer by “kicking the ball around with adults on Sundays at the park.” He only heard about the Sueño MLS trials the night before, showed up the next morning hoping to get a walk-up spot and proceeded to beat out nearly 1,000 other competitors. The Chivas USA fan lists Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as his favorite players.
Alejandro Nuñez (Defender – 17 years old – Sylmar, Calif.)
Alejandro is an experienced young defender who at age 15 represented the United States with his club team at a tournament in El Salvador. A student at Granada Hills Charter High School, Alejandro was unknowingly registered for Sueño MLS by his older brother, who did not tell him about the tryout until the night before. Alejandro lists Chivas USA among his favorite clubs and Landon Donovan, Carles Puyol and Lionel Messi as his favorite players.
Oscar Velazquez (Midfielder – 16 years old – Las Vegas, Nev.)
Las Vegas-based Oscar Velazquez takes pride in two things - soccer and family. His older brother came all the way from Wyoming to watch Oscar impress the scouts and make it to the national “Final Event.” He is also proud that he was the only freshman on his high school soccer team at South East Career Technical Academy. He is a fan of Chivas USA and FC Barcelona and lists Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi among his favorite players.
George Zuniga (Defender – 16 years old – Carson, Calif.)
Of the 18 national finalists, George will have to travel the least to participate, with the event taking place in his hometown of Carson, Calif. The accomplished Marcos Antonio Firebough High School defender had his own cheering section at the regional trials, with his mom, dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, and friends supporting him from the sidelines. The scouts were impressed by his presence and organizational skills on the back line. Last year his club team won a championship and his high school squad won a prestigious local tournament. An avid Chivas USA fan, he lists Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Chicharito among his favorite players.
Seattle Sounders FC Finalists:
|Herbert Cojulun||Forward||17||Casey, SC|
|Ivan Marmolejo||Forward||17||Orondo, WA|
|Luis Alvaro Osornio||Forward||17||Federal Way, WA|
|Hector Palos||Goalkeeper||17||Philadelphia, PA|
|Jose Ramos||Midfielder||15||Tacoma, WA|
|Giovanny Soto||Forward||15||Wenatchee, WA|
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC FINALIST BIOS:
Herbert Cojulun (Forward – 17 years old – Casey, S.C.)
South Carolina resident and Guatemala native, Helbert Cojulun, crossed the continent to showcase his skills at Sueño MLS 2012 - presented by Allstate the morning after his prom. “I did my best running on no sleep and lots of adrenaline,” he said. The effort paid off for the Brookland-Caycee High School junior scoring machine when the Seattle scouts picked him to represent the club at the national “Final Event.” He lists DC United among his favorite teams and loves Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho.
Ivan Marmolejo (Forward – 17 years old – Orondo, Wash.)
Ivan Marmolejo is a talented Mexican-born forward with the ability to hold the ball. He lists Seattle Sounders FC as one of his favorite clubs and star forward Fredy Montero (whom he met during the tryouts) as one of his idols. He hopes to be the first person in his family to become a professional athlete.
Luis Alvaro Osornio (Forward – 17 years old – Federal Way, Wash.)
Mexican-born Luis Alvaro Osornio showed his resiliency when he elected to play through the pain of a knee injury sustained on the first day of competition. After a lackluster morning tryout on day one, he asked his parents to take him back to the fields where he got a second chance and impressed the scouts. A speedy forward with the ability to play in the wings, the Thomas Jefferson High School soccer standout takes pride in his work ethic. He got the call that he made it to the second round of Sueño MLS 2012 – presented by Allstate while food shopping with his family in the evening at a local supermarket. “We celebrated in the cereal aisle,” Luis said.
Hector Palos (Goalkeeper – 17 years old – Philadelphia, Pa.) Local Seattle finalist of Allstate “Good Hands®” top goalkeeper award – El Portero Allstate
Hector Palos is a Sueño MLS veteran, having reached the second round of the 2011 Philadelphia trials. The Great Valley High School star was determined to make the long trip to Seattle to prove that he is one of the best young goalkeepers in the country. Due to the cancellation of his original outbound flight, he needed to make connections in Houston and Las Vegas to make it on time for the trials. According to the scouts, Palos is a courageous player who is quick, anticipates well, and has good technique with sure hands. Born in Mexico, he lists the LA Galaxy and Real Madrid as his favorite clubs and Iker Casillas as his idol.
Jose Ramos (Midfielder - 15 years old – Tacoma, Wash.)
It’s not surprising that young playmaker Jose Ramos lists players like Xavi, Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta as his favorites. Jose tried out for the Olympic Development Program and made the team at age 12. Seattle Sounders FC is one of his favorite teams.
Giovanny Soto (Forward – 15 years old – Wenatchee, Wash.)
Born in Los Angeles, Giovanny Soto has a great vision for the game which compliments his creative style. He lists Seattle Sounders FC and Real Madrid as his favorite teams and Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar as his soccer role models. He left his home with his parents at 2 a.m. for the long drive to Seattle and his efforts paid off.
FC Dallas Finalists:
|Livan Aguirre||Goalkeeper||14||Brownsville, TX|
|Jose Hernandez||Forward||16||Dallas, TX|
|Pedro Ocampo||Midfielder||17||Sterling, IL|
|Jose Romero||Forward||17||Athens, TX|
|Tony Santibanez||Forward||17||Plano, TX|
|Alfredo Vasquez||Midfielder||17||Athens, TX|
FC DALLAS FINALIST BIOS:
Livan Aguirre (Goalkeeper – 14 years old – Brownsville, Texas) Local FC Dallas finalist of Allstate “Good Hands®” top goalkeeper award – El Portero Allstate
Livan is the youngest of the FC Dallas 2012 finalists at only 14 years old and will be competing for the national Allstate “Good Hands®” top goalkeeper award – El Portero Allstate. He impressed the local scouts with his athleticism and foot skills. A native of Mexico and a student at Stillman Middle School, he lists FC Dallas, Real Madrid and Santos Laguna as his favorite teams. His idol is Real Madrid’s Iker Castillas and his dream is to play for the Mexican National Team.
José Hernández (Forward – 16 years old – Dallas, Texas)
Born in Monterrey, Mexico, José is making his second consecutive appearance at the Sueño MLS “Final Event.” The tall center-forward, who considers Manchester United’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez his favorite player, is a constant threat in the attack. He started playing soccer at the age of five and currently attends Thomas Jefferson High School. He regularly plays against older youth players and adults who admire his scoring abilities and dribbling skills. He is a natural goal-scorer and possesses outstanding technical ability.
Pedro Ocampo (Midfielder – 17 years old – Rockford, Ill.)
A resident of Sterling, IL, Pedro is the Dallas finalist who traveled the furthest to participate in the program. He drove down with nine other teammates and their youth soccer coach who has guided their playing careers on-and-off since they were four years old. Pedro’s favorite teams are Santos of Brazil and Real Madrid. The Sterling High School scoring machine sports a haircut styled after his idol, Brazil’s Neymar.
Jose Romero (Forward – 17 years old – Athens, Texas)
A speedy forward from Athens, TX, it’s no surprise that Jose, lists FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi as his favorite player. He recently completed his soccer career at Athens High School as the team’s third-ranked all-time scorer with 44 goals. He is the high school teammate of fellow Dallas Sueño MLS finalist Alfredo Velazquez.
Tony Santibanez (Forward - 17 years old – Plano, Texas)
A tall and skillful attacker, the Plano High School captain is looking to add a Sueño MLS title to his long-list of soccer accomplishments and championships.
Alfredo Vasquez (Midfielder – 17 years old – Athens, Texas)
A teammate of fellow Dallas Sueño MLS finalist Jose Romero at Athens High School, Alfredo dreams of being a professional soccer player like his idol, Real Madrid’s Christiano Ronaldo. He lists Chivas Guadalajara as his favorite team.