Every year, players from around the United States and the world tryout for a spot on the Real Salt Lake - Arizona Academy. A few weeks ago, Legacy's Pedro Mondragon tried out with other hopeful players. Pedro impressed the coaching staff enough and he accepted their invite to join this prestigious academy.
The Real Salt Lake - Arizona Academy was the first residential Major League Soccer academy program in the country and is regarded as one of the finest Academy systems in the U.S. The Academy has produced more than 30 professional players (players have signed with Liverpool, Manchester United, Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders and more) since its inception in 2010. Every player that has played at the RSL-AZ Academy has also been offered a college scholarship.
Mondragon, who played on the 01/02 Red Legacy Team under coach Ozzy Perez, is now competing for the RSL-AZ U-15/16 Academy.
"One of our missions as a club is to develop, prepare, and support players to continue their soccer careers after Legacy and get to the next level," said Legacy Director of Coaching Andy Bonchonsky. "We’re very proud whenever any of our players go on to play at the Professional, College, Olympic, US Soccer national program levels, etc. and we see it as part of our success in being part of that. We couldn’t be more proud of Pedro who has represented himself, his family, his team, and Legacy with great honor and pride and has shown his love for the game through his never ending effort and desire to be his best. We wish him the best in this great opportunity and know he has left a Legacy for others to follow.
Mondragon spoke to Legacy about his new life at one of the best soccer academies in the nation.
Legacy: When you got the call that you were invited to play with the team, what was running through your head?
Mondragon: I was excited. It was a dream since I heard about the Academy. I have always wanted to play here and see what it was like.
Legacy: Now that you have been down there a few weeks. What has the experience been like and what is the level of play like
Mondragon: Every player is dedicated to what they do every day. After school, they are out on the fields trying to get better all the time. The level of play, and the coaching, is on another level. A new and great experience.
Legacy: Looking back on your time at Legacy, how has it helped you prepare?
Mondragon: I was with legacy for four years and they have helped me mature as a person become better at soccer. We play out of state a lot and we get to play really good clubs from around the country. Playing against these clubs has helped me become a better player.
Legacy: What are you long term goals?
Mondragon: To see if I can get a college scholarship. After I get a degree and maybe I get drafted into Major League Soccer and play professionally.
Legacy: What are you looking to accomplish at the Academy
Mondragon: I'd just like to get better and become a better soccer player. I think I can because the level of players will help me get better.
Legacy: Any advice for the other Legacy player who would like to join the Academy?
Mondragon: Always work hard and believe in yourself at all times. You always need to be training and if you're not you're not going to get better. Believe in yourself, work hard, and never give up.
Good luck Pedro. If you would like to see how Pedro is doing, be sure to check out the RSL-AZ Academy schedule right here.