Johnny Chavarria, a 16 year-old defender from Las Vegas has been named the winner of Sueño MLS 2014 – Presented by Allstate, the nationally televised search for the best young soccer player in the country. Chavarria, who was discovered by scouts at the LA Galaxy trials, has been invited to join one of the club’s Academy teams.
In addition, Steven Manuel Ortiz, a 14 year-old goalkeeper from Linden, N.J., has won the Allstate “Good Hands®” top goalkeeper award - El Portero Allstate award. Ortiz is the youngest goalkeeper to win this award and has been invited to join one of New York Red Bulls Academy teams, where he was initially discovered at the local tryouts.
The announcement was made Sunday from StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., live on Univision Network’s República Deportiva, which has chronicled the competition in a “reality show within a show” format.
“Despite is young age, Chavarria proved to be very technical,” said Sueño MLS mentor/coach Carlos “El Pibe” Valderrama in a statement. “He is a player with the ability to challenge his opponent when he doesn’t have ball possession; who has good positioning and knows how to read the play.”
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“It feels amazing, knowing that you are one of the best out of hundreds that tried out,” said Chavarria in a statement. “I just played my game and it all worked out. I hope that this will open more doors, and opportunities. I would like to dedicate this award to my mom, as she has always supported me and my dream.”
“Ortiz has all the skills a goalkeeper needs. He is quick and agile but also has a great command of the field and is very knowledgeable of the game. A goalkeeper needs to do more than just defend, he has to be the first one to attack and is the last line of defense, and he is very good at both,” said Allstate “Good Hands®” top goalkeeper - El Portero Allstate mentor/coach, and former Mexico international goalkeeper Martin “El Pulpo” Zuñiga in a statement.
The two winners were among the 18 national finalists, including 15 field players and three goalkeepers, who were in Southern California for six days of competition and mentoring by top soccer legends, including MLS and Colombian World Cup star Valderrama, Alfonso Mondelo and Zuñiga.