TAMIU Soccer Athlete Vies for Univisión
Soamy Bautista, a freshman accounting major at Texas A&M International University, is vying for a chance to make it big in the soccer world.
Bautista, 20, a Dustdevil soccer athlete who immigrated alone to the United States from Honduras when he was barely nine years old, is traveling to Miami this week for a tryout to be a finalist for a Univisión reality show, ‘El Juego Supremo’ (The Supreme Game). If he’s chosen, he, along with others, will have an opportunity to temporarily live in a Miami house and play on a team of world-renowned soccer legends.
“My dream is to get on this show and play professionally for Honduras some day,” Bautista, who currently maintains a 3.1 GPA, said, “I’m confident I’ll make it.”
He said Univisión producers called him for the tryout after he attended a casting call in Houston and told them his unique story. The show, titled, “El Juego Supremo” (The Supreme Game), is set to air weekly on Univisión starting August. Its premise is to look for the next professional soccer player, as in “American Idol,” said Vivianne Maduro, producer for Zeal TV USA.
During the show’s filming, two houses will be set up in Mexico and Miami, where six finalist soccer athletes will live in each. The athletes will be trained by soccer legends and will form a team with 5 legends each. The two houses will then play each other in September.
“We had scouts who scouted at all the soccer academies in the country and Soamy was recommended by his coach as one of the best players of his team,” Maduro said, “He seemed to fit the bill because along with his soccer skills, he has a good story. He’s succeeding both with his soccer skills and with his education.”
When he was nine, Bautista took a grueling, 21-day journey alone by land and sea to immigrate to the United States from Honduras and join his single mother in Houston. He said he traveled with a group of illegal immigrants who at one time considered leaving him behind because he was a child and was becoming a hindrance.
“We traveled through forests, sea and rivers, “ Bautista said describing his journey, “We stayed at homes of people we didn’t even know, and had nothing to eat but tortillas and cheese. We finally swam across the river in Matamoros in 1997 and reached the United States. ”
Even when he was at last reunited with his mother in Houston, things did not become easier for Bautista.
“My mother works for a fast food restaurant, and always held two jobs to support me,” he said, “So, I would only get to see her on Sundays. It was lonely.”
To fight boredom, Bautista and his cousins, who were also without parents during the day, played soccer at a Houston soccer club, Houstonians Fútbol Club. There, he met coach Mario Sánchez, who recently suggested that Bautista attend the Univisión casting call.
It was also through that soccer club that he met TAMIU Men’s Soccer Coach Claudio Arias and eventually received a scholarship to attend TAMIU.
He said that by participating in the reality show, he would like to get TAMIU’s name widely recognized.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It doesn’t come around at all for some people. This is a chance for me to prove to everyone that I can play at a level that every professional is able to play,” Bautista said.
Arias applauded Bautista for his accomplishments.
“This is a great opportunity for him,” Arias said, “It’s a reward for his efforts. Not everyone gets a chance like that. It’s a great window of opportunity for him and our soccer program to show our country that we’re after good kids, students, players. This is a good exposure for us and for him to play soccer professionally in the future. ”
María Magdalena Morán, Bautista’s mother, said she was elated to know that Bautista is working towards his professional and athletic goals.
“I’m very happy to know that he’s accomplishing one of his dreams and that people will get to watch how he plays soccer,” Morán said.
Recalling her son’s childhood, Morán said she often felt sad she had to spend time away from him while working.
“I used to feel very sad, and had to rely on my family members to help me check after him after school but thank God, he has always been a focused young man and has done things that make me proud,” Morán said.
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