Two Athens soccer players headed to California to participate in the finals of Sueño MLS 2012, Univision’s reality show competition in which the winner receives an invitation to join an MLS club’s elite youth team.
Senior forward Jose Romero and junior midfielder Alfredo Vazquez were two of the five field players selected from a pool of around 500 at the FC Dallas tryout in late April.
The Hornets duo will compete against 13 others in Carson, Calif., this week, participating in training, scrimmages, tactical and motivational lectures and a meet-and-greet with Chivas USA stars.
The event culminates in a live broadcast of the winners on Univision’s “República Deportiva” at 9:55 a.m. CDT.
Romero, a two-time All-East Texas second teamer, finished his Athens career third on the school’s all-time scoring list with 44 goals. Vazquez earned second-team all-district following his junior campaign.
Sueño MLS is in its sixth year. Six players — five field players and one goalie — were chosen from three open tryout locations: FC Dallas, Seattle Sounders FC and Chivas USA.
In addition to a field player earning an invitation to a club’s youth squad, one of the three goalies will win the All State “Good Hands” goalkeeper award.
Players arrive in Los Angeles on Wednesday and begin training Thursday morning at the Home Depot Center. The 18 young men will watch a Chivas USA training session Thursday as well. On Friday and Saturday morning, the players will scrimmage against the Los Angeles Galaxy Academy team.
Argentine soccer legend Guillermo Barros Schelotto will help guide the team while Mexican goalkeeper Adolfo Rios will mentor the goalies.
The other FC Dallas finalists are goalie Livan Aguirre (Brownsville), forward Jose Hernandez (Dallas), midfielder Pedro Ocampo (Rockford, Ill.) and forward Tony Santibanez (Plano).
The last time the Sueño MLS winner came from the FC Dallas tryout was in 2008 when Gabriel Funes, who scored 40 goals in 2008 for Arlington High School, won to earn a spot on the FC Dallas youth team. From there, Funes earned a tryout with Chelsea of the English Premier League and though he did not latch on, he caught the eye of River Plate of the Primera División Argentina, where he is now a starter.