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
What They're Saying: Nasser Al Khater    
"The only question now is when, not if. Summer or winter, we will be ready." -- ...
D.C. United is on verge of clinching    
[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Preview] MLS's four U.S. entrants are all in action in the Concacaf Champions ...
Olsen is still MLS's youngest head coach    
[MAKING A LIST] Almost four years after being named D.C. United head coach, Ben Olsen is ...
D.C. United rewards Olsen with multi-year extension    
[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Head coach Ben Olsen, who survived D.C. United's horrific 2013 campaign, the worst in ...
Valeri volleys a golazo on the run     
[VIDEO PICK: MLS Goals of the Week] Portland's Diego Valeri looks set to garner his third ...
Soccer America Men's Top 25 Scoreboard    
[ROUNDUP: Sunday] No. 6 Washington rebounded from allowing an early goal to beat USF, 2-1, in ...
Howard gaffes cost Everton dearly at home    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] Everton's defensive troubles in the English Premier League continued as it dropped a 3-2 ...
Toronto FC ends misery, extends Chivas USA's drought    
[MLS: Sunday] Chivas USA was just what Toronto FC needed to snap a six-game winless streak. ...
Banner year for MLS scoring    
[BY THE NUMBERS] MLS is enjoying its highest-scoring season since it began its expansion push a ...
Soccer America Women's Top 25 Scoreboard    
[ROUNDUP: Sunday] Senior Sarah Killion tied a UCLA record with three assists in the game to ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives