Young football amateurs earn select spots in the Barcelona finals for Nike's global search for undiscovered talent.
Five more amateur players have moved one step closer to their dream of playing professional football. Mexico and Uruguay held finals for The Chance the last weekend in June, with the winning players earning spots in The Chance Global finals, taking place next month in Barcelona.
After three months of intensive try-outs across the country and three stages of play in Guadalajara, Pachuca and Mexico City, 44 young amateur Mexican players made their way to the iconic Azteca Stadium, home stadium for Mexico’s national football team and site of the 1986 FIFA World Cup finals, for the deciding contest.
Memo Ochoa (former Las Aguilas and current Ajaccio goalkeeper) and Ulises Davila (Chelsea player) were on hand to announce the winners: Alexis Guinto, Jonathan Meléndez and Emilio Rodea.
A celebration for all the contestants followed featuring Kinky, a trendy Mexican band.
In Uruguay, from the more than 2,000 young players scouted since the launch of the program, 150 kids were chosen to participate in the local finals held in the Estadio Charrúa in Montevideo. The jury of Mario Rebollo (National team assistant), Paolo Montero (former National Team coach) and Andrés Barrio (Uruguay Olympic coach) had the difficult task of choosing the final two.
After a special visit from Egidio Arévalo Ríos, Uruguay National Team player and Olympic athlete, matches and drills helped define the winners: Santiago Cabezudo and José Miguel Barreto.
All five winners will immediately begin training for the Global Finals in August, where they will play under famed Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola at FC Barcelona’s famed youth academy. Through an exhaustive six-month journey, Nike’s The Chance, gives amateur footballers in 55 countries the opportunity to prove themselves on an elite stage. From the final 100 who make it to Barcelona, an elite 16-man squad will be formed to travel the world, training with the best professional teams and playing against the most prestigious youth academies.