18 Top local players from the Inland Empire were picked to represent the United States of America at the International Soccer Game on November 4.
Out of the 18 athletes, four of them were from the city of Rialto – Gabriela Ramirez, Natalie Cardona, Valerie Moctezuma, and Geavanna Flores were the four soccer athletes who represented not on the country, but the city.
“There were four girls from Rialto picked to play out of 65 that showed up to the tryouts. 18 girls were picked to participate in this exhibition game overall. The other 14 were from San Bernardino, Riverside, Moreno Valley and Bloomington,” said Lio Mejia, So Cal Select head coach.
The soccer team played in Tijuana, Mexico, at the Cholas of Tijuana Soccer Facility.
“We all met up in Temecula and then drove to Mexico together. It was the first time many of these athletes were traveling internationally,” continued Mejia.
Mejia detailed how important it is for soccer players in the Inland Empire to shine, due to underrepresentation.
“In Mexico you can become a professional soccer player at 14 years old. In the United States soccer is not a prominent sport…so there are not as many big names who come from our area and play professionally; so it’s important to get these athletes out there,” said Mejia.
After the International Soccer Game, Coach and Scout of Cholas of Tijuana, Jasmine Guzman, asked Mejia to bring back four of the athletes to participate in a camp.
“Four girls from Rialto got invited to a camp. They will go out there for a week and enlist with the soccer team. At the camp the girls will go to school, travel to different academies, they will be taught how to eat, exercise, and go through team bonding,” concluded Mejia. Mejia stated that the So Cal Select team will be headed back to Mexico in January for another successful exhibition tournament.
For more information, visit socalselect.org.