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June is always a busy month for soccer in the United States. The Major League Soccer season is in full swing, while on the international front both the men’s and women’s national teams are usually engaged in some sort of competition.
But it is also a busy time for a group of aspiring players hoping to achieve the dream of a lifetime, and Alianza de Futbol helps make that happen for them.
Founded in 2004, Alianza de Futbol of Relevent Sports is an organization that dedicates itself to the development and growth of amateur Hispanic soccer in the United States. This summer, Alianza de Futbol will kick off its 16th season with more than 30,000 players expected to participate in six different programs.
Its flagship event is Allstate Sueno Alianza, which serves as a program to unearth the best undiscovered Hispanic talent in the United States. Spread across 10 U.S. cities — Atlanta, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and El Paso — Allstate Sueno Alianza 2019 will offer young players the opportunity to show their wares in front of scouts from 16 Liga MX clubs, six MLS teams, and one USL team, plus colleges and universities.
At the beginning of each Allstate Sueno Alianza, there are around 500 players in each city. The best 48 players from the 10 cities are then selected and divided into three categories at the Alianza de Futbol National Finals: Under-14, Under-17, and Under-20.
The next day they all play against a local team, usually an MLS Academy team. It allows scouts to get an idea of each player’s talent and some receive an offer for a trial and in some cases, even a contract.
Of note, though, is that for the player, there is no cost to participate. Instead of being shackled by combine fees or some sort of pay-to-play, a player can travel to one of the designated 10 cities and receive, at no cost, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make their dreams come true.
There are notable alumni of Allstate Sueno Alianza. Perhaps the one known to most is Monterrey and Mexico national team midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez. In 2013, Gonzalez was discovered by Monterrey at the Allstate Sueño Alianza National Showcase and four years later not only made his Monterrey first team debut, but also was named to the Liga MX Best XI for the 2017 Apertura.
Another player to watch who emerged from Allstate Sueno Alianza is Santiago Munoz. The 16-year-old forward was born in El Paso, raised in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and went through the Allstate Sueno Alianza process in 2017. Munoz now plays in the Santos Laguna Academy and scored five goals in Mexico’s conquest of the 2019 Concacaf Under-17 Championship last week.
Other players that are poised to make similar breakthroughs are Edwin Lara, who plays for Club Leon’s Under-20 team, and Julio Barragan, who just won Mexico’s second division championship with Pumas.
Yet Alianza de Futbol is about much more than Allstate Sueno Alianza. The JugoTV Copa Alianza serves as the most prestigious adult Hispanic tournament in the country, with the team claiming top honors in each city winning $5,000 and earning a shot at the $40,000 national first-place prize.
Alianza de Futbol also offers the Toyota Copita Alianza, so that players from more than 900 teams at the Under-7, Under-9, Under-11, Under-13, Under-15, Under-17, and Under-19 level can receive top-level instructions from Mexican national team coaches and compete in the biggest Hispanic youth tournament in the U.S.
In addition to the Alianza 5v5 Tournament, which will see 24 teams from each city competing, and the Alianza Coaching Clinics, which includes renowned coaches Hugo Perez, Jose Luis Real, and Marco Garces, there is also the Alianza Femenil tournament.
The Alianza Femenil tournament was launched in 2015 and now has more than 3,200 female players competing in Under-18 and Open age divisions.
So while fans are watching both the Concacaf Gold Cup and the Women’s World Cup this summer, young Hispanic players from all around the U.S. will also be hoping to make their dreams come true with the help of Alianza de Futbol.
Arch Bell is a freelance soccer writer who lives in Austin, Texas, and covers all things Concacaf. Follow him on Twitter.