The tournament's seventh edition finals took place last weekend. Organized by Alianza de Futbol, it's the largest amateur Hispanic soccer program in the United States and in which young players compete for a chance to receive offers and invitations from professional soccer teams.
This year, the finals took place in Miami, FL where the country's 48 best young, Hispanic athletes traveled to compete in U-16 and U-19 showcase matches in front of professional and college scouts.
The finalist where scouted from 4,500 athletes that tried out during Alianza's free soccer tryouts nationwide over the past six months in 12 cities across the United States.
As a result, 20 players were invited to tryout with teams from a Liga MX and seven received offers to join a team. Among the ones receiving tryout invitations were five players from California, including Jesus Alonso del Mundo, forward from Richmond, CA who was invited to tryout with Atlas, Santos Laguna, Morelia and Club Am?®rica and who is also the first participant to received the Allstate "Buenas Manos" Scholarship. The accolade will provide Del Mundo with access to the Collegiate Sports of America (CSA), one of the top soccer recruitment programs of the country to access scholarships for his college education.
Opportunities such as this are hard to come by for this underserved community. 80% of the U.S. Hispanic population identifies soccer as their favorite sport. However, with 25.4% of the U.S. Hispanic community living in poverty (Pew Hispanic Research, 2012), many cannot afford to participate in standard, "pay-to-play," youth soccer organizations that dominate in the United States. Alianza de Futbol solves this issue by providing a low-cost tournament experience for Hispanic youth with team fees at least half the average price of traditional U.S. tournaments.
Since the establishment of the 7UP Sue??o Alianza tryouts in 2008, 35 players have been signed to professional contracts, 14 have received youth national team call-ups and eight obtained college scholarships. Professional teams Monterrey, Tigres, Chivas and more signed Alianza athletes from the 2013 competition. Last season players were recruited for college soccer at CSU Dominguez Hill and Coastal Carolina.