South Bay Youth Soccer Players to Compete in Spain

Created: 15 March, 2018
Last update: 27 July, 2022

By Mario A. Cortez

A group of talented soccer players is headed off to Salou, Spain this spring as part of a team which will compete against some of the best youth teams in the world at a prestigious event known as the “Little World Cup.”

The San Diego Football Center’s Youth Leadership Academy has received an invitation to compete in the 2018 edition of the Mundialito youth soccer tournament.

“Due to our Youth Leadership Academy’s impressive local annual work we received an exclusive invitation to bring three teams of 12 players to compete,” read a press release from the SDFC.

As part of their delegation, SDFC will send out teams made up of players born in 2006, 2007, and 2008 respectively.

San Diego’s South Bay region will be represented by four players in the 2007 team.

Diego Valles, Fernando Renteria, Santiago Valadez, and Oliver Holt are the four young talents who will be taking to the pitch in Spain as part of the SDFC academy representatives.

Tomas Valles, father of Santiago Valles, told La Prensa San Diego that these four players have been playing together for some time at the club level and have a rigorous training regimen.

“Right now, they play together at San Diego Surf and they train for times a week with the club and they are playing three or four games a week too,” Valles detailed.

“The group is playing very well and we feel that the boys will do a good job representing San Diego on an international platform,” Valles added.

Agustín Valadez, father of Santiago Valadez, said that this opportunity should be a great experience for these players, as they will get to face very challenging opponents.

Now in its 25th year, Mundialito gathers youth soccer clubs to compete in a seven-a-side format tournament, divided into respective age groups from eight to 12 years of age.

Every year, European powerhouses such as Paris Saint-Germain, FC Barcelona, Juventus, and Real Madrid, send standout players to compete in the tournament. Delegations from countries such as Mexico, Turkey, Japan, Portugal, Italy, Germany, and England also compete in the tournament.

With per-person expenses surpassing the $3,000 dollar mark, the club has been fundraising and continues to in order to bring down the costs of travel and transportation.

On Saturday, March 10, the families of these four players and the club held a fundraiser event in Chula Vista, where attendees were able to purchase meal combos by Rubio’s and raffle tickets to help cover the cost of travel.

The Mundialito 2018 tournament will take place from March 24 through April 1.