PHARR — David Reyes is only 12 years old, but he looks up when he dribbles the ball and can facilitate like a player years beyond his actual age. The young midfielder from Alamo has been playing at Golazo in Pharr since he was 4 years old, but he says this has been his best season yet.
He was born on Dec. 30, 2005, just days away from being classified with the younger age group. Through a couple of years playing with his teammates, he learned and performed better, benefitting from games against stronger opponents. Reyes has grown to be a leader of his teammates, who are going into eighth grade.
“This is the best team I’ve been in. It’s a really good team,” Reyes said. “I like being the captain, because I can scream at the team to go forward, push up and pump them up to play better.”
FC Dallas RGV ‘05s (to signify their birth year 13 years ago) are set to compete at one of the highest levels of youth soccer. This week they’ll travel to Indianapolis to participate in the prestigious President’s Cup, which puts top youth talent on the field to battle for national supremacy.
Reyes said togetherness was the key to the team reaching nationals.
“We all play together as a team,” Reyes said. “We work hard to get forward. We have great players on the team — the goalie, defense, middle and forward — and we finish everything we have.”
At the regional competition in Greenville, South Carolina, the RGV ‘05s played a near-perfect tournament, winning their three preliminary games by a combined 11-0 margin.
In the semifinals, they beat Music City Pachuca 8-0. In the final, they surrendered their only goals in five games but won 5-2.
“It feels great, because people talking about you feels good,” Reyes said. “People know you around, where you play. Like around the world.”
Current FC Dallas RGV boys and girls players in other age groups have already begun making an impact at the high school level.
The FC Dallas RGV ‘05s are yet to reach high school but already play as one tight-knit team with players from different parts of the Valley. Residents of Donna, Brownsville, the Edinburg-McAllen area and west of Mission help make up the roster.
Roberto Morales, a Mission native who plays an attacking position, says he’s happy to be part of such a strong group.
“It’s cool, because the competition is good, and winning is even better. It feels good bringing players from different parts of the Valley to try to win,” Morales said before explaining one of the team’s key strengths. “If you don’t have speed on your team, most of the teams are going to run by you with speed. So speed is really important.”
The youngster also mentioned the balance on his team that includes “a great defender” in Erick Perez and “one of the best goalies in the Valley” in Jose Cantu.
Morales said the culture of soccer from across the border is what makes his team unique. The 13-and-under players use what they learn from both their youth coaches and in their own neighborhoods.
Liga MX is popular among Morales’ peers, and he said that has an influence. Morales supports the CF Monterrey Rayados, a team he saw in person just last week in McAllen.
“Most of us are like Mexican,” Morales said. “And right now, Mexicans are doing really, really good in soccer. Since the Valley is a close part to Mexico, there are a lot of players that are half Hispanic, so the level is high, and we’re doing good.”
Hector Veliz is one of the team’s coaches and the athletic director for FC Dallas RGV. He said club play is an important piece of the recruiting process for area talent that might otherwise be overlooked.
“It can bring the exposure for good colleges, because the Valley really doesn’t bring Division I scouts,” Veliz said. “With these kids putting their name out there with big academies, it really turns the eyes over here.”
FC Dallas’s merger with Golazo and their low-cost initiatives allow more players to get the training that can help them become elite, Veliz said.
“Back in the day, it just used to be the kids that could afford it, but not the talented ones,” Veliz said. “That was one of the reasons we merged with Golazo. All it takes is them (the kids) wanting to do it, and we’ll find a way to fund it. Pretty much, these are the future stars of the varsities here in the Valley. Two of our ‘05 players will be leaving to the academy team in Frisco.”
In Indiana at the Presidents Cup, RGV Dallas FC will take on Sporting Wichita (Kansas), SCCSA Dragons (Pennsylvania) and Solitio FC (California). The team’s first game is Thursday.
FC Dallas RGV 05 Red
Juan Garza Jr.