Wilf Thorne/Socio MLS

Socio MLS comes to Houston

Socio MLS continues to be a big draw for youth soccer league teams nationwide. Nearly 300 teams of Houston’s La Unidad Soccer League and L.A.’s Super Soccer League have registered.

Socio MLS has worked hand-in-hand with local MLS clubs along with Degree Men, Castrol, and adidas to provide the leagues with their most fundamental needs: new soccer balls, referee uniforms, certification programs for league coaches and referees, and MLS player development opportunities through Socio MLS Youth Scouting Days. 

The Socio MLS and Degree Men two-day event in Houston celebrated La Unidad’s involvement with the program. The celebration, complete with a parade, also marked the kick-off of the league’s new season.

Peiser Park in H-Town played host to the event. Local police, members of the fire department, and representatives of Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo came out for the weekend, along with some of the Dynamo Girls, who signed autographs and posed for photos with fans.

“Our goal is to educate our young players that, through these kinds of programs, it will be possible for them to pursue a professional soccer career and will also help them become an asset to the community,” Cuellar noted as he oversaw registration by more than 110 teams. “It’s heartening to see everyone involved in our league taking this event very seriously and taking the time to understand the benefits of Socio MLS.”

Antonio Montoya, a native of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, coaches his three sons in La Unidad’s league, and was particularly happy about the opportunities that Socio MLS was providing his children.

“My sons all dream of one day earning a scholarship through soccer and maybe one day having a career in this beautiful sport,” Montoya said. “Although my youngest son, who is a goalkeeper, looks to be more serious about reaching this goal. With Socio MLS, I think he’s more motivated.”

Socio MLS also helps provide one of the most vital elements of the game: referees. Thanks to Refugio “Ref CuCu” Placencia, who refereed for four seasons in Mexico’s professional leagues, aspiring officials in Houston receive top-of-the-line training from experienced teachers.

‘Ref CuCu’ praised Socio MLS for reaching out to La Unidad referees in an effort to continue the instructional programs he offered the league. 

“We need more referees, which is the reason I offer the La Unidad instructional programs every week for those who are interested in broadening their knowledge of the sport. Now with Socio MLS, this will become an official part of the league” Placencia said. “I’d like to thank the organizers of this event for this wonderful and beneficial program that everyone involved in the league can take advantage of.”

LA’s Super Soccer League also held a two-day event at Veterans Park, a two-year-old all synthetic turf complex in Pomona. More than 178 Super Soccer League teams had the opportunity to register for Socio MLS. Local MLS clubs Chivas USA and the LA Galaxy were on hand as well and sponsored a raffle wheel and giveaways. 

Ricardo Carrillo’s family has been involved with the league since his father founded it in 1995. Carrillo took over his father’s position of league president three years ago, but he has already seen the impact that Socio MLS has made.

“The teams loved it,” Carrillo said. “It’s the first time the league has become involved with such a program. It’s something new to all of our coaches, players and referees and at the end of the day they left with smiles on their faces because it makes them feel important, aside from the fact that it made our league look really good.”

But the scouting opportunities that Socio MLS are offering have the potential to make the league look even better if the next big MLS star happens to come out of Pomona.

“Just the fact that MLS is showing interest in our league is important to us and to the Hispanic community," Carrillo said. "We are looking forward to the scouting events because there is a lot of soccer and a lot of talent in Pomona, so we are pleased with the opportunities that  Socio MLS has already provided and will continue providing for Super Soccer League.”