LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Soccer fields in Las Vegas were well-trod this week as local boys and girls tried out for the Olympic Development Program.
Saeed Bonabian, president of Players Soccer Club, oversees ODP in southern Nevada. He says its goals are simple.
“It’s another tool for U.S. Soccer to select and identify players at the state level, and then at the regional level and then to the national pool,” he said. “So this is their first step.”
It is an initial step once taken by two local boys who now get a paycheck for their on-field prowess.
Edgar Nava, Cimmaron Memorial High School graduate, and Eric Guzman, from Cheyenne, showcase their skills for Las Vegas's newest professional franchise, the Legends of the Professional Arena Soccer League
Nava and Guzman have been teammates since elementary school. They were an integral part of a Players Soccer Club boys team that won multiple state championships, and this year became the first Nevada team to ever make it to the final four round of the national championships
“It’s very gratifying,” Bonabian said. “You see them train since they were 8 and 9 years old. They come out here every night in windy, cold, hot weather, and at the end they get rewarded.”
The Las Vegas Legends franchise, which plays at the Orleans Arena, have made good use of Nava and Guzman.
“Both (are) real young good energetic kids,” said Legends head coach Greg Howes. “Edgar’s more of an attacking player, but Eric’s a defender, and they are both promising young men.”
Howes says the Las Vegas valley is fertile territory for recruiting gifted young soccer players.
The Legends play again at Orleans Arena on Jan. 18.