March 25, 2007 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
NEW YORK (Sunday, March 25, 2007) - Jorge Flores, a talented 17-year-old forward from Anaheim, California, was crowned today as the winner of the nationally-televised player search, Sueno MLS: Chivas USA Wants You!. The senior from Anaheim High School will be invited to join Chivas USA's Under-19 squad, starting this Wednesday. The honor was announced in front of a national TV audience during Univision's popular weekly sports show, República Deportiva, which has been following the month-long search in a unique "reality show within a show" format.
"I'm honored to have earned this opportunity. I gave my very best during the past five weeks, and now I hope to take full advantage of this opportunity, show my best with the Chivas USA U-19's, and continue improving as a player," said Flores, who is scheduled to appear on the nationally-televised Univision morning show Despierta America tomorrow, Monday, March 26 (7-10 a.m. PT/ET), to discuss his path to the winner's circle. "In particular, I want to thank my family for their support, and to give a shout-out to all my friends in Anaheim."
Flores' quest began the weekend of February 16, 2007, when he took the field at the Bell Gardens Sports Center in Bell Gardens, California, along with 2,000 other hopefuls from around the U.S. and beyond. Flores then moved on to the Round of 60, where he discovered through an uncle that one of the other qualifiers, Abraham Garcia, was a second cousin he had never met. Both cousins moved on to the "Final 24," where Flores and his teammates got to play at The Home Depot Center's world-class soccer stadium against the Chivas Under-19 Team. While the "Final 24" lost to the U-19's, Flores scored the only goal for the dreamers, catching the eye of Chivas USA's scouts.
From the "Final 24," five players were invited to the coveted two-week trial with Chivas USA. Aldo Iniguez, a 20-year old goalkeeper from Guadalajara, Mexico, trained with the team's full 28-man roster, while the other four players, including Flores and Garcia, trained with Chivas USA's highly successful Under-19 squad, which in just two years has already graduated three players to Chivas USA's full roster.
"All five players were very talented and showed a good level during their two-week trial, making our decision very difficult," said Chivas USA's Director of Soccer Dennis te Kloese, who has led the team's search for their next young star. "In the end, Jorge stood above the rest, and earned his spot. Now it is up to him to take advantage of the opportunity he has been given."
"On behalf of Chivas USA, I would like to welcome Jorge to our club," said Antonio Cue, President and Co-Owner of Chivas USA. "It is Chivas USA's mission to provide opportunities to talented young players like Jorge. We look forward to monitoring his progress in the months and years to come."
In addition to the title of Sueno MLS champion and a spot with Chivas USA's U-19 team, the winner was offered adidas equipment and a special family ticket package to Chivas USA's home games at The Home Depot Center. However, Flores respectfully declined all prizes, other than the spot on the Under-19 team, in order to maintain his college eligibility.