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Youth Soccer in Las Vegas

Of all the kids who have grown up playing soccer in Las Vegas, none have gone further than Herculez Gomez. Gomez made the US World Cup team and he's just back from competing in South Africa, after the US team lost to Ghana in a first round play-off game. . .

At least some of Gomez's greatness was forged right here in Las Vegas. As the son of two Mexican immigrants, Gomez was raised on a mixture of soccer traditions, and he played in both "American" and "Mexican" leagues -- and one could argue he absorbed the best of both.

On this program we talk with Gomez about his first World Cup experience, and his upbringing. And we look at the rapid growth of youth soccer in Las Vegas as a tale of two cities -- there are the mostly suburban white leagues (known to Latinos as "Ligas Americanas") approved by the state soccer association, and then there's the almost entirely Latino "Ligas Mexicanas", that operate independently. These two worlds of soccer are not only distinct in organization, order and discipline -- the first having more of these than the second -- they are also different in their vision of the game.

Herculez Gomez, player, US National Soccer Team
Ruben Kihuen, Nevada State Assemblyman, former All State High School Soccer Player
Guy Hobbs, former Pres, Nevada Youth Soccer Association
Edwin Canizales, Dir, Universal Football Club


(L-R) Herculez Gomez; Guy Hobbs; Anthony Muskovits, 10; and Hyden Canizalez, 11

Jesse Pratt's shirt signed by Gomez.

(L-R) Hobbs, Gomez, Muskovits, H. Canizalez, Jesse Pratt 13

(Back: L-R) Hobbs, Gomez, Edwin Canizalez, Ruben Kiheun, and Tim Pratt; (Front: L-R) Muskovits, Dillon Pratt, H. Canizalez, and J. Pratt

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