CARSON, Calif. (Sunday, May 13, 2012) – Forward Armando Flores, 17, from Santa Ana, Calif. today was named winner of Sueño MLS 2012 – presented by Allstate, the nationally-televised soccer search for the best undiscovered youth talent in the country. Flores has been invited to join the Chivas USA youth academy program.
In addition, Jimmy Camacho, 16, from Riverside, Calif. was awarded the national winner of the “Good Hands®” top goalkeeper award - El Portero Allstate, a parallel competition created to discover the nation’s top netminder. Camacho will also join the Chivas USA youth academy.
Coincidentally, Camacho and Flores were both born at Santa Ana Hospital and played on the same youth soccer teams.
The two winners were revealed in front of a national television audience during a live broadcast of Univision’s popular weekly Spanish-language sports entertainment show, República Deportiva, which chronicled the tryouts in a “reality show within a show” format.
Nearly 2,000 aspiring young soccer players competed in open tryouts over the past 45 days at FC Dallas, Seattle Sounders FC and Chivas USA, but only 18 regional winners gathered in Carson, Calif. last week hoping to impress celebrity scouts at the “Final Event.”
Under the guidance of MLS Argentine soccer legend Guillermo Barros Schelotto, former MLS and US National Team standout Jeff Agoos, and distinguished MLS head coach Alfonso Mondelo, the “Final Event” featured 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 was mentored by Mexican goalkeeping legend Adolfo Rios, along with former Mexico star, Felix Fernandez.
Flores, who recorded two goals and an assist in two games during the “Final Event,” shares a number of remarkable similarities with first-year winner and current Chivas USA star Jorge Flores (now Jorge Villafaña). Both players hailed from Orange County, Calif. and were discovered at the Sueño MLS Chivas USA trials. Villafaña and Flores were also both 17 year-old forwards who walked on to the competition before they won.
“Armando impressed us with his speed, skill, vision, courage to go at players one-on-one, solid passing and finishing,” said Mondelo.
“It was an amazing feeling when they announced my name,” said Flores. “I want to follow in Jorge Villafaña’s footsteps, and hopefully I’ll become a pro just like him. This is step one to fulfill my dreams.”
“Jimmy has the personality to organize his team on the field and effectively communicate with his defense while absorbing the pressure of a game,” said Rios. “He shows good reflexes, is explosive and has good control of the penalty area.”
“This is a dream. It’s in the name, ‘Sueño’,” said Camacho. “I’m going to work hard now with Chivas USA and not settle. I’m going to step up my game with this opportunity I have.”
About Armando Flores (17, Santa Ana, Calif.)
Flores is a speedy forward who can also play as an attacking midfielder. No stranger to high-profile trials, the Santa Ana High School student trained for four months with the Club Atlas (Mexico) reserves after being spotted 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 said he “felt my dreams were coming true.” Flores considers Chivas USA one of his favorite teams and his favorite players include Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta.
About Jimmy Camacho (16, Riverside, Calif.)
National winner of Allstate “Good Hands®” top goalkeeper award – El Portero Allstate
Camacho’s Sueño MLS experience might be unlike any other. Discovered at the Chivas USA regional tryouts, the charismatic 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 netminder lists goalkeepers Guillermo Ochoa and Victor Valdez among his favorite players and the LA Galaxy as his favorite MLS club.
SUEÑO MLS ALL-TIME WINNERS:
2012 Armando Flores, F, Santa Ana, CA (Host team: Chivas USA)
2011 Birnis Adames, F, Camden, NJ (Philadelphia Union)
2010 Nelson Castro, D, Houston, TX (Houston Dynamo)
2009 Alberto Lopez, M, Aurora, Ill (Chicago Fire)
2008* Gabriel Funes Mori, F, Arlington, TX (FC Dallas)
2008* Briant Reyes, M, Downey, CA (Chivas USA)
2007 Jorge [Flores] Villafaña, F, Anaheim, CA (Chivas USA)
*Co-winners in 2008
Allstate “Good Hands®” top goalkeeper award – El Portero Allstate ALL-TIME WINNERS:
2012 Jimmy Camacho, Riverside, CA (Host team: Chivas USA)
2011 Anthony Hall, Dallas, TX (FC Dallas)