The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
The hopes and dreams of some local and national soccer players rose and fell over the weekend as Sueño MLS invaded Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila. Mario Prieto was at the event and shares a recap and photos.
by Mario Prieto for goalWA.net, video by Maraviva
The event was conducted this past weekend, April 21 -22 at the Starfire Sports Complex; training home for the Seattle Sounders F.C., and was presented by Allstate, as well as Univision’s Republica Deportiva and co-host personality Felix Fernandez.
Three MLS clubs, including first time host Seattle Sounders FC, as well as the returning Chivas USA and FC Dallas are participating this time.
Leading the scouting efforts on the field was Sounders FC Director of the Youth Development Darren Sawatzky.
Friends and family of participating players, as well as the general public, were invited to watch the tryouts and enjoy two days of pure joy and good sportsmanship.
Other Sounders F.C. scouts were on the field such as Josh Ford, Dick McCormick, and Bill Crook, to evaluate the players.
Fredy Montero and Osvaldo Alonso also were there to talk to the media, and give a word of encouragement to the participating players at the final day of the competition.
More than 500 participants showed off their skills in hopes of landing their name in the list that will travel to Los Angeles for the final stage of the event.
Returning to Sueño MLS for a second year is the Allstate “Good Hands” or top goalkeeper award – El Portero Allstate.
One goalkeeper at each of the three local tryouts will be selected as the top goalkeeper and will also compete in the “Final Event” for the opportunity to be named EL PORTERO ALLSTATE, and train with a MLS youth team.
In 2011, then a 16 year old goalkeeper, Anthony Hall was named the first ever Portero Allstate after a tough competition against two other finalists.
“Anthony is a very vocal goalkeeper, with a strong personality to organize the defense. His abilities with his hands as well as his feet are outstanding,” said Adolfo Rios, a veteran of the Mexican national team and powerhouse Mexican team America.
Hall, who reached the semifinals of Sueño MLS in Houston in 2010, beat out two other talented youngsters to earn the prize last year.
Here in Seattle, players arrived as early as 8 am Saturday morning at Starfire Sports Complex, in order to get in on the action. They then quickly went through a short but intense 11 v 11 match.
There wasn’t much time to show your stuff, but a 14-year old native of Kenya caught the eye of the Seattle Sounders coaching staff.
Handwalla Bwana, who now resides in Seattle, with his mother and younger brother, heard of the tryout through his friend and teammate with the youth club, Seattle United, and was pulled aside and praised for his unique touch on the playing field.
“I was a bit nervous,” said Bwana, who was one of the physically smaller players on the pitch. “I noticed that everyone else was bigger than me but I knew that I had to come here give 150 percent and just have fun and do what I know how to do on the field and hope that I can make it far in this event.”
Bwana, who thanks his father and uncle for his passion and dream of becoming a professional soccer player, admitted that he’s always wanted to play professional.
“It’s been a dream of mine since before I could even talk. My dad who is still back home in Africa used to play soccer and is the only reason why I play. It’s the only thing we ever did which is why this sport has a special significance to me.”
On the other hand, Freddy Montero Sr., the father of the Sounders striker and a talent scout for the MLS club and Washington Youth Soccer, referred 30 different players to Saturday’s tryouts and highlighted the importance of Sueño MLS, most of all for the good and rapid growth of US soccer.
“This is a special event, an opportunity, a door that has opened for the community of Seattle but most of all for young aspiring soccer players,” Montero said. “I completely support this cause for the simple fact that it brings them a step closer to fulfilling their dreams of becoming a pro.”