Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
U.S. youth product makes dream debut for River Plate
by Mike Woitalla, December 10th, 2009 7AM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

[ARGENTINA] Texas product Gabriel Funes, the winner of the "2008 Sueno MLS" -- Univision's reality tryout TV show designed to uncover talent for Major League Soccer -- debuted for Argentina's River Plate last weekend.

"It was something very wonderful," the 18-year-old told Ovacion.com. "It was extremely emotional. I never would have thought I would debut in the Primera. At least for now the dream has come true."

Funes, a 66th-minute sub in River Plate's 3-1 Primera Division loss to Velez Sarsfield, immigrated to Texas from Argentina with his family at age 10. After a season in which he scored 35 goals for Arlington High, he entered "Sueno Dallas" -- sueno means "dream" in Spanish -- and prevailed among the 2,000 participants.

A sort of "American Idol" for soccer players, Sueno was launched in 2007 by MLS and Univision. In its first year, Sueno participants competed for a chance to make it with Chivas USA, and the winner, then 17-year-old Jorge Flores, succeeded in earning an MLS contract. Flores was later selected for the U.S. U-20 national team.

In its second year, Sueno was expanded to include FC Dallas.

Funes won the FC Dallas Sueno contest while Salvadoran-born Briant Reyes was named the 2008 Chivas USA winner.

FC Dallas welcomed four participants into its youth program, the Dallas Juniors, including Jael Barrera and Noel Luna. But Gabriel Funes and his brother Ramiro, who reached the final 12 at Sueno, left soon after to train at River Plate. The Funes brothers had previously played for Arlington club Associated Soccer Group.

Gabriel scored four goals for River Plate's reserve team this season, including one the week before his first-team debut.

Ovacion.com reported that against Velez, Funes nutmegged an opponent and was involved in the attack.

"I came in with confidence," said Funes, "and was a little nervous, which is normal. I got into the action, but came up short in front of the goal. But it was a good debut, and it was very important for me that I didn't mis-hit any passes."

 

River Plate, which has won a record 33 Argentine titles, is currently in 15th place. Pagina 12 reported that Funes is one of five attacking players under age 22 who are a key part of River Plate's rebuilding project for next season, the Clausura 2010.

River Plate faces Racing on Thursday in its second-to-last game of the Apertura 2009.

Gabriel Funes is one of several former Dallas youth stars to succeed abroad.

Ramon Nunez returned to his native Honduras after a stint in MLS with Dallas and now plays in Mexico for Cruz Azul. He is expected to represent Honduras at the 2010 World Cup.

Like Nunez, a former Dallas Texans star, Lee Nguyen is playing professionally in Vietnam after stints in Netherlands with PSV and Denmark with Randers.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Wright scores hat trick in 5-2 win over Costa Rica    
[USA UNDER-17 MEN] Striker Haji Wright continued his hot form for the USA this year with ...
U.S. women headed to Brasilia in December    
[DATEBOOK] The U.S. women's national team will travel to Brazil for the first time since 1977 ...
Soccer America Men's Top 25 Scoreboard    
[ROUNDUP: Midweek] After junior Joel Salmeron scored in the sixth minute, UIC held off No. 25 ...
Las Vegas developers handed another lifeline    
[MLS EXPANSION] The effort to secure an MLS expansion team in Las Vegas was handed another ...
Arsenal's U.S. boy gets first goal for Gunners    
[VIDEO PICK: Golazo] Gedion Zelalem, who was born in Germany to Ethiopian parents but raised in ...
Eastern Conference clashes kick off busy week    
[MLS PREVIEW: Week 30] A Thursday-Friday double-dip is rare in MLS but just such a setup ...
Stars take CSA and FIFA before tribunal    
[2015 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP'] A day after FIFA's Tatjana Haenni said there was no Plan B ...
What They're Saying: Peter Vermes    
"He was talking to me about the team and about winning [MLS Cup] as both a ...
What They're Saying: Toronto lawyer Ted Charney    
"[T]here's no downside since the loser at the tribunal does not have to cover legal costs ...
UEFA Champions League Scoreboard    
[ROUNDUP: Wednesday] Just three teams -- defending champion Real Madrid and 2013 finalists Bayern Munich and ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives