MLS Insider: The legacy and the dream of Carlos “El Pibe” Valderrama

Art by Futbol Artist Network | Illus: Sakiroo Choi | | @sakiroo

The first thing you notice is the hair, but it's simply impossibly to ignore the love of the game.

There are few players in the history of global soccer like Carlos “El Pibe” Valderrama, the midfield magician who became an icon in Colombia and beyond over roughly two decades in the gam

A star in his native country for years before Colombia’s huge breakthrough in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Valderrama was one of the most recognizable figures of the 1994 World Cup. And although Los Cafeteros surprisingly bowed out of the tournament without reaching the knockout stage, the impression the United States left on him eventually led to a memorable career in Major League Soccer from 1996-2002, when he was one of the league’s biggest stars.

The latest edition of the Emmy-nominated MLS Insider series takes a look back at Valderrama’s legacy and shines a light of his current work with Sueño MLS, which allows young Hispanic across the United States to compete for a shot at their professional dream and to one day play the game just like “El Pibe.”

For more on Valderrama, check out his thoughts on a dramatic goal for Colombia in the 1990 World Cup against West Germany, or debate’s top five Colombian players in MLS history.

And don’t forget to don’t forget to catch up on previous episodes of MLS Insider chronicling the 2013 MLS Cup, the new look of Graham Zusi’s humble rise to stardom, the historic soccer roots of New Jersey and much more.

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