ORLANDO, Fla. – While the Sueño MLS event in Orlando is an intense weekend for all 400 participants, it is perhaps the most nerve-racking for the goalkeepers in attendance. With dozens of netminders trying to impress the Orlando City coaches and scouts, there is just one spot in the final available for a goalkeeper.
If that wasn’t enough pressure, former Mexican international and Chivas USA goalkeeper Martín Zúñiga (pictured above) was on hand to help scout the keepers and put them through their paces. Orlando City’s first-team goalkeeper coach and former Sport Recife keeper Marcos Machado was also there to help select the finalist.
This year, the last man standing was Thomas Bosley, from nearby Jacksonville, Florida. The lanky 16-year-old (pictured at right on far right) made the two-hour drive down to Orlando with his mother, and it proved well worth it.
“When I heard there were 400 kids coming and only one keeper selected, I was nervous,” reflected Bosley. “It was definitely a different experience working with coaches of that caliber. They’re always going to teach you something new.”
Zúñiga, for one, was clearly impressed with what he saw in the youngster from Jacksonville.
“Marcos [Machado] and I noticed his quick first step,” the former Chivas USA ‘keeper said of Bosley. “He showed us great technique, great mentality and he did really well in every exercise.”
Bosley currently plays club soccer for Jacksonville FC, but he’s hoping that soccer will take him through college and maybe even beyond. But it was his mother who gave him a little prodding and the suggestion to try out.
“I saw an MLS post on Facebook, and I said, ‘You ought to try this,’” his mother, Heidi Bosley, said. “I know Thomas has so many dreams and ambitions.”
For his part, Bosley is already looking forward to his upcoming trip to the Sueño MLS National Finals in Los Angeles.
“It’s a great group of guys,” he said. “I’m looking forward to having fun with them and competing with some of the top players in the country.”
Of course, the only person on the field happier than Thomas may have been his mom, who was ecstatic that her son had come so far in the competition. She gave Thomas a big hug in front of the television cameras when his selection was announced, and she couldn’t quite make it through an interview without getting a little sentimental.
“He’s worked so hard the last three years. He trains every day, he’s just really been passionate and it’s all paying off,” Heidi Bosley said. “It’s awesome, and I’m so proud of him.”