SF program helps kids' soccer dreams come true

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A San Francisco-based program is giving young soccer players across the U.S. the chance to try out in front of professional scouts (Courtesy Alianza de Futbol)

Young Latino soccer fans in the Bay Area are getting the chance to play thanks to an organization called Alianza de Futbol. It holds open tryouts around the country.

The World Cup heroes often come from neighborhood parks and being discovered can be the most difficult part, but now a giant spotlight is being shined right on the Bay Area.

Dreams don't always come just when you're sleeping. Sometimes they take place on big grassy fields.

Realizing your dreams of becoming a professional soccer player or even a player on a national team in the World Cup takes help.

The regular soccer system in the Bay Area and across the nation is you have to pay to play. The better you are, the more it costs. But sometimes the best players don't have the money to play. That's where Alianza de Futbol comes in.

"The program is designed to attract Hispanic kids from all over the country and give them an opportunity to show their skills as soccer players, advance their soccer career and their educational career through it," said Brad Rothenberg with Alianza de Futbol.

The San Francisco-based organization says its open tryout system all over the country is merit based; it takes no money to attend.

Scouts from professional, college, and the U.S. and Mexican national teams look for some standout players.

Thirty-one kids from the program have gone pro, with 12 playing for national teams.

Santa Rosa's Diego Lopez went far in the process.

"I got called up to go to the Dallas Cup and then after that I wanted to try to go pro," he said. "And then Alianza gave me an opportunity to go try out for a couple of teams in Mexico. It was really a great experience."

Diego didn't get signed by a team, but his dream is still alive.

The World Cup in Brazil is a big incentive for the young players.

Rothenberg thinks at least one of the program's players will make it to the World Cup in 2018.

Who knows, one day Diego's 13-year-old brother, Anthony Lopez, may be a national hero.

"I'd like to get a lot of tryouts and become a professional one day," Anthony said. When asked where he'd like those tryouts to be he answered, "Anywhere. Just to play soccer professionally would be great."

Alianza de Futbol's next tryout is in Denver this weekend. They're holding a tryout in Morgan Hill at the end of August.

For more information on the program and tryouts, click here.
Related Topics:
sportsu.s. & worldfifa world cupWorld CupFIFAsocceru.s. soccerSan Francisco
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