CARSON, Calif. (Sunday, May 18, 2014) – Johnny Chavarria, a 16 year-old defender from Las Vegas, Nevada 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 the first time ever that a player representing LA Galaxy wins Sueño MLS – Presented by Allstate.
The announcement was made today from StubHub Center, the home of the LA Galaxy, in Carson, Calif., live on Univision Network’s República Deportiva, which has chronicled the competition in a “reality show within a show” format.
“Despite his young age, Chavarria proved to be very technical,” said Sueño MLS mentor/coach Carlos “El Pibe” Valderrama. “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.”
“It feels amazing, knowing that you are one of the best out of hundreds that tried out,” said Chavarria. “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.”
In addition, Steven Manuel Ortiz, a 14 year-old goalkeeper from Linden, New Jersey, 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 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 Colombian World Cup legend, Carlos “El Pibe” Valderrama, Alfonso Mondelo and Zuñiga.
Photos of the winners, as well as Sueño MLS 2014 – Presented by Allstate photos, b-roll and logos are available HERE.
Now in its eighth year, Sueño MLS 2014 – Presented by Allstate was staged by three Major League Soccer teams, including the Colorado Rapids, LA Galaxy, and for the first time New York Red Bulls. Up to 400 tryout spots were made available in each city on a first come, first served basis. The finalists were chosen from the nearly 3,000 players who registered for the open trials.
In addition, the Allstate “Good Hands®” top goalkeeper award - El Portero Allstate - was presented for the fourth consecutive year. One goalkeeper at each of the three local tryouts was selected as a local goalkeeper finalist to compete in the National Final for the opportunity to be named El Portero Allstate.
For the kick-off press release, which includes player eligibility, timeline and past winners, click HERE.
ABOUT THE WINNERS:
Johnny Chavarria (Defense – 16 years old – Las Vegas, Nevada)
Due to his physical presence on the field, Chavarria is a defender who can securely cover the ball and quickly switch gears into an attack mode. The only out-of-state finalist from the LA Galaxy trials, he started to play soccer at the age of eight. Chavarria has the ability to play both with his right and left foot which allows him to be a double threat. His favorite team is FC Barcelona and his favorite player is Xavi Hernandez. Chavarria attends Sierra Vista High School in Las Vegas and is of Mexican heritage.
Steven Ortiz (Goalkeeper – 14 years old – Linden, New Jersey)
Steven Ortiz was the local New York Red Bulls winner of the Allstate “Good Hands ®” top goalkeeper award – El Portero Allstate. A resident of Linden, NJ, he has good reaction skills, presence, and was referred by scouts as the complete goalkeeper. He currently attends Linden High School and has always been a fan of the game, supporting the local MLS team, New York Red Bulls. His favorite MLS player of all time is David Beckham. Ortiz’s family is originally from Cali, Colombia.