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Youth Soccer in Las Vegas
Youth Soccer in Las Vegas

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AIR DATE: July 6, 2010

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.

GUESTS
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

PHOTOS
Herculez Gomez
(L-R) Herculez Gomez; Guy Hobbs; Anthony Muskovits, 10; and Hyden Canizalez, 11
Shirt Signed by Herculez
Jesse Pratt's shirt signed by Gomez.
Herculez signs shirt.
(L-R) Hobbs, Gomez, Muskovits, H. Canizalez, Jesse Pratt 13
Guests and soccer kids
(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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    COMMENTS:
    I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation with Herculez and Ruben. Both have achieved so much in their young lives, touching many individuals along the way in a positive way. Both were very articulate, well spoken and very humble in their respective endeavors. I actually coached Ruben and was very familiar with Herculez having a son that played with Ruben and against Herculez. My hat goes off to both of you and your families for instilling good morals and support kids will always need from their parents, siblings, and family!
    tino diazJul 5, 2010 22:37:02 PM
    What a great interview. Herculez you are an inspiration to all hispanic americans in the US! Go USA!
    John LopezJul 2, 2010 05:24:29 AM
    herculez and ruben make our community proud. i am so proud of both of them, of what they have acomplished in their fields. i am mexican and have two boys born in the us. when i saw herculez playing the world cup it was almost like seein my own son making it big in soccer. felicidades to both!! Ruben, bring Herculez to firefly one of these days! you got my number...
    alex bolanosJul 1, 2010 10:34:10 AM
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