Jonathan Kaplan /

Sueño MLS Houston finalists announced

HOUSTON (Tuesday, April 20, 2010) – Major League Soccer and the Houston Dynamo announced today the names of the five talented young players that will represent the team in Los Angeles at the “Final Event” of Sueño MLS 2010 - built by The Home Depot, the nationally-televised player search showcased on “República Deportiva,” the popular Univision weekly Spanish-language sports show that chronicles the tryouts in a “reality show within a show” format.

The five Houston-area standouts are:





Nelson Castro

Center Def.


Houston, TX

Juan Contreras

Left Mid.


Dickinson, TX

Eric Martinez



Houston, TX

Marco Ortiz

Center Mid.


Crowley, TX

Lorenzo Salazar

Center Mid.


Houston, TX

The five players, whose personal stories were featured on “República Deportiva” this past Sunday, fought their way past more than 400 competitors in an open tryout to become one of ten local finalists, and endured a week of training with the Houston Dynamo’s Youth Academy.  

Entering its fourth year, Sueño MLS 2010 - built by The Home Depot, included three local tryouts in Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles (LA Galaxy) during the first three weeks of April 2010.  In the next two weekends “República Deportiva” will unveil the final five finalists from the Chicago and Los Angeles tryouts.  

Ultimately, five standouts from each city (15 players in total) will receive invitations to an exciting five-day “Final Event” in Los Angeles.  The finals will include training sessions, scrimmages, guest celebrity scouts, and an opportunity to meet some of the League’s biggest stars.  The Sueño MLS champion will be crowned on Sunday, May 9, on “República Deportiva.” 

MLS sponsors participating in Sueño MLS 2010 – Built by The Home Depot, include The Home Depot, Volkswagen and Degree Men.


Nelson Castro, defender, 14 – Houston, TX

Nelson is a very smart player who made a tremendous impression on the coaches on the first day of the tryouts.  The young Salvadorian-American is smart with the ball when he is on the offensive, and made it difficult for players to get by him on the defensive side.  The 9th grader at Eastwood Academy lists Oguchi Onyewu of the U.S. National Team as his favorite player, “because of his height and strength and because he plays my position.” 

Juan Contreras, midfielder, 16 – Dickinson, TX

Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Contreras is a crafty midfielder from Dickinson, TX (about 30 miles south of Houston).  The Dickinson High School junior was almost not selected, not as a result of talent, but because there was some confusion over which Juan Contreras was meant to be in the Finals.  Juan shared the same name with another player on trial – eventually the two were distinguished by geography, as the other player was from Houston.  He lists Barcelona’s Argentine midfielder Lionel Messi as his favorite player “because of the way he touches the ball…has the ball glued to his feet at all times, and he is also a left footer like me.”

Eric Martinez, forward, 15 – Houston, TX

Martinez, a freshman at Dekaney High School, tried out for the ODP (Olympic Development Program) team in 2009 but didn't have the resources to pursue it.  Eric made the ODP team this year and is scheduled to play games in Alabama this summer.  The young Mexican-American plays for his high school, and enjoys a soccer pedigree, as his older cousin Oved played for the reserves at Puebla (Mexico).

Marco Ortiz, midfielder, 15 – Crowley, TX

According to Dynamo scouts, Ortiz had the look of a finalist from the moment he walked on to the trials, before ever touching a ball.  Early on in his first game, coaches identified this Mexican-American as particularly gifted playmaker in the middle of the field.  Ortiz is a 9th grader at Crowley High School, where he was the only freshman selected to play on the varsity team and was voted as a district All-Star.  Crowley, TX is outside Fort Worth, about a five hour drive from Houston.  Not surprisingly for a midfielder, his favorite player is also Messi.  Of the field, he is a member of his school’s student council, and was recently voted “most likely to become famous” by his peers.

Lorenzo Salazar, midfielder, 15 – Houston, TX

Salazar impressed coaches early on in the open tryouts with his simple play and technique.  The Austin High School freshman scored the first goal on Day 2, taking advantage of his height with a well-placed header.  Lorenzo, whose father is Mexican, rushed back from the prestigious Dallas Cup to compete in Sueño MLS.  According to Salazar, he was offered a trial by Mexico’s Tigres, and turned it down to pursue opportunities in the United States.  His favorite player is Real Madrid’s Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Photos of the five Houston finalists are available at the MLS FTP: -   User name: mlsphoto / Password: ml$ph@t@.  Video also available by request. 


April 3-4                    Local market tryouts (Houston Dynamo @USA Park)

April 10-11                Local market tryouts (Chicago Fire @ Montrose Park)                             

April 17-18                Local market tryouts (LA Galaxy @ Glendale Sports Complex)    

April 18                     Houston trials featured and Top 5 announced on República Deportiva          

April 25                     Chicago trials featured and Top 5 announced on República Deportiva          

May 2                        Los Angeles trials featured and Top 5 announced on República Deportiva          

May 5-9                     "Final Event” in LA

May 9                        Announcement of winner on República Deportiva


Eligible players must be between the ages of 14 and 18 years old (with appropriate identification) and retain their amateur status. Current collegiate student athletes will not be permitted to attend the final event in Los Angeles.  Sueño MLS participants will be responsible for all personal expenses associated with the local market tryout, including travel to local tryouts, lodging, food, soccer equipment (shoes, training gear, etc.), etc. Program sponsors will cover all expenses for fifteen (15) participants selected to attend the final event in Los Angeles, CA. For more information, please visit  Participation in the event is free.  Players may not register for more than one city.