A new youth soccer league has arrived in the City of Chula Vista with the opening of Southwest Futbol International Academy’s first season. The Academy, which is an approved Cal South member, is a partnership with Barca Academy of Temecula and Xoloitzcuintles FC of Tijuana, and is affiliated with West Ham United of England.
The partnership will allow boys and girls from San Diego to train and play at the highest level, with the opportunity to become involved with academy teams in the United States and Mexico. Over the past few years the Temecula/Murietta branch has helped more than 30 young players to go on to succeed at the college level.
The Academy, which will be known as XOLO Academy in Chula Vista, is led by Director of Operations Raul Gonzalez, Jr., who most recently coached for Chula Vista Pumas. Rachid El Bekraoui directs overall operations from the Barca Academy’s home site in Temecula.
The Academy’s philosophy is to provide players with the possibility to develop and advance in the game through proper teaching of soccer. The affiliations with Xoloitzuintles FC and West Ham United widen those opportunities. The goal is to build every member of the Academy into a complete player by the age of sixteen.
“I am very excited in joining the Xoloitzcuintles Tijuana and XOLO Academy,” said Gonzalez. “They bring what no other club in the area offers, which is a professional team. My new challenge with this club will be on how to effectively utilize my skills and experience.”
The Academy is not just looking for great players who love the game but great students as well, both on and off the field. The goal is to make sure that every player has the opportunity to belong to something that will be potentially life-changing.
Leaving Pumas was not an easy decision for Gonzalez, but he knew it was the right one. “I made the announcement to my team that I would no longer be a part of Chula Vista Pumas and if they wished to follow me they could,” Gonzalez said. “My entire team decided to follow me, even though we did not have an official team at the time. Six other local teams contacted me about signing on when the opportunity to be a part of XOLO Academy was brought up.”
A number of challenges face Gonzalez as he works to get the new Academy up and running, but he welcomes the opportunity. “I am eager and motivated with the challenge of bringing in teams, a great coaching staff and finding practice fields for the club. In the South Bay area, that is the number one concern with Clubs. Field spaces are limited, so you have to adjust with what you get and go from there.”
The Academy has a great example in Xoloitzcuintles FC, which has a long and storied history in Mexican fútbol. In the past year the team has defeated both Chivas USA and LA Galaxy in the new San Diego Clasico, held at University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium. With such an example, the Academy’s future looks bright.
XOLO Academy is holds its tryouts 18 at the Arco Olympic Training Center, 2800 Olympic Parkway in Chula Vista. For more information visit the XOLO Academy page on the Southwest Futbol International Academy website or call Raul Gonzalez at 619-302-0037.