Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
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
Twenty for Canada 2015: France's Louisa Necib    
France's Women's World Cup hopes received a boost on Friday when star Louisa Necib played her ...
USL Weekend: Floods leave Austin stadium under water    
Bad weather that hit the Southwest caused havoc around the USL. The game between the Austin ...
NASL Weekend: Cosmos break open spring race    
The New York Cosmos opened up a six-point lead in the NASL's spring standings with a ...
Video Pick: Own goals don't come sadder than this     
Pavel Krmas, a 35-year-old Czech defender playing in his 151st and final game for Freiburg, scored ...
What They're Saying: Christie Rampone    
"I didn't get an email or a phone call. I'm so old that I got a ...
Key games on tap in Europe this week     
The title winners in Europe's major leagues have been decided, but there are still plenty of ...
Europe in a Nutshell: Curtain comes down on 2014-15 season     
The earth as Leo Messi's soccer ball. Clubs say farewell. And a rough week for Lazio. ...
What They're Saying: Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez    
"We didn't talk about spirituality. We talked about dollars and cents, and where it could get ...
ICYMI | MLS: Form counts for nothing; Wondo gets 100    
Do not ever think of betting money on MLS games as form counts for nothing as ...
U.S. Abroad: Bornstein adds new chapter to legend    
Jonathan Bornstein is writing one of the great stories in the history of Americans abroad. No ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives