A new Sueño MLS winner has risen from the Rose City.
Alan Gaytán, a 15 year-old Mexican-American midfielder from Troutdale, Oregon, has been named the winner of the historic 10th edition of Sueño MLS – Presented by Allstate Insurance Company, the nationally televised search for the best young soccer player in the country.
As a result, Gaytán has been invited to join one of Timbers' academy teams. The announcement was made live during Univision Deportes’ República Deportiva on Sunday.
"It serves as an inspiration to those young players throughout Oregon that they can be identified, that there is a world of opportunity for those talented enough to be selected through the Timbers and Sueño process," said Timbers Youth Technical Director Larry Sunderland.
The Timbers youth development program first identified Gaytán via their Regional Training Centers and the midfielder was part of their state-wide Olympic Development Program (ODP) in 2014 and 2015.
Gaytán follows in the footsteps of the first-ever Sueño MLS winner, Jorge Villafaña (known as Jorge Flores at the time), who last season won MLS Cup while starting for the Timbers.
“I feel amazing and I think I earned it. It was a tough competition because everyone is talented, but I know my leadership skills and leaving everything on the field helped me achieve this win,” said Gaytán. “This experience has been amazing and I want to thank all the coaches and my family. I am sincerely grateful I was able to be part of this program.”
He was chosen from Sueño's 15 national finalists after four days of national finals in Southern California, which included top-level training, games against local MLS soccer academies, and mentoring by MLS technical director Alfonso Mondelo and top soccer legends like Luis “El Matador” Hernandez and Eric Wynalda.
“Gaytán impressed us with certain details and high-quality soccer subtleties,” said Mondelo. “His first touch along with his movements with and without the ball, as well as the intensity with which he approaches the game, made him stand out.”
Sueño MLS 2016 began with tryouts hosted by the Timbers, as well as returning hosts LA Galaxy and the New York Red Bulls. Up to 400 tryout spots were made available in each city.
"Gaytán is a young, raw talent," said Sunderland. "He is athletic, with a nose for the goal and a well-defined attacker's mentality. I think the surface has just been scratched. We look forward to being a part of Alan's continuing soccer development."