The Mexican Football Federation, also known as Federación Mexicana de Fùtbol, will be at Pajaro Valley High School in Watsonville on March 23-24. (contributed)

The Mexican Football Federation, also known as Federación Mexicana de Fùtbol, will be in town this weekend in search of young and fresh soccer talent. 

Pajaro Valley High School will host a group of scouts from Mexico who are making the trek to Watsonville on March 23-24.

Adolfo Garcia, co-owner of Soccer Central Indoor Sports on Harkins Slough Road, was contacted by FMF, which was looking to set up shop in San Jose.

Instead, the 49-year old Watsonville native suggested an alternative spot with plenty of talent already in the area. 

“It is an awesome opportunity for the community. If one, two, three kids make it it’s worth it, every effort,” he said.

The event, which begins at 8am, is open to both boys and girls in the 2009-’10 and 2011-’12 categories/age groups. There is no fee, but online registration is highly recommended at

FMF suggests kids should arrive at least 30 minutes before their scheduled time and be dressed in proper sporting apparel such as a t-shirt, gym shorts and turf cleats. Other requirements include an identification card and printed registration sheet. 

Participants can have one adult companion and those not registered online must have a parent or official guardian present at in-person registration.

FMF typically has up to 350 participants show up to scouting events. As of now, there are just 120 registered in Watsonville.

“More motivation for the scouts if there’s a longer list of participants,” Garcia said.

For five years, Garcia was part of a group of coaches that used to put together a team, or two, of the best girls players in the United States who would showcase their talents in Mexico.

Garcia’s daughter, Melissa, was part of one team that went to Mexico. The 18-year old standout has played for soccer clubs such as PV United out of Watsonville, FC Bay Area and the San Jose Earthquakes Academy.

In 2023, FMF visited the Bay Area for the first time to scout for girls. This year they’re returning to analyze both girls and boys players.

“[FMF] knows our area is well known for soccer talent,” Garcia said. “They want to be able to come over here and be able to see themselves what opportunities they can present to the kids.” 

Garcia never had the chance to play soccer growing up in a small town south of Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico. For him, life has been work since moving to Watsonville about 36 years ago. It wasn’t until Melissa got involved with soccer at the age of 5 that he began to play, as well. 

According to the FMF official website, the main objective of talent identification is to detect and promote the practice of soccer for all Mexicans through scouting and experiences for the players of the 2009-2010 and 2011-2012 categories/age groups, in different cities in Mexico and the United States.

The website also says, “As the Federación Mexicana de Fùtbol, we have the obligation to detect and develop women’s and men’s talent interested in football and the opportunity to reach the Mexican National Team and represent the country internationally.”

Scouts are set to visit 10 cities in the United States for two days. In Watsonville, all participants will be observed March 23 and players who advance will participate in the second stage the following day. 

The best players from each city will be chosen to participate in a regional clinic. After the clinic, the best 23 players from each age group will advance to the final stage at Casa del Fútbol, FMF Toluca.

Those players have a possible chance of receiving a call to the Mexican National Team in their respective group.

Watsonville native Jose Martinez helped orchestrate this weekend’s scouting event by getting in contact with Pajaro Valley Unified School District Trustee Daniel Dodge Jr., who then made it happen. 

Martinez said he wants the youngsters to say they were part of something that could potentially be part of their growth in soccer. He also wants them to have the vision of competing at a high level.

“It’s great exposure for the kids in the community of Watsonville, and not just the community of Watsonville but outside of the Central Coast, to show that there’s a lot of talent here,” he said. “It’s going to be a great opportunity to put our names out there on the map and say there’s more than just Silicon Valley.”

Martinez was part of a program that brought MLS Next Program to Watsonville and prior to that he began coaching the Soquel High JV soccer team at the end of 2003. He is in progress of creating his own program to help guide young soccer players in the right direction.

Martinez graduated from Watsonville High in 2001. He said opportunities for exposure were limited for him and a majority of other young soccer players growing up in town. 

Nowadays there’s social media and other platforms to put together a highlight reel. But for Martinez it’s more than just having talent. He would like to see parents get more involved because coaches can only teach so much.

“These kids need the right guidance, the right discipline, the right pathway,” he said. “A lot of kids say ‘I’m going to be a pro’, but no. My goal is to go to school, stay in school, get a good education and open doors from the pathway of school.”

Garcia said the closest thing to getting scouted for a professional soccer team is competing in the nation-wide Alianza de Futbol tournament. One of the tournaments takes place at the Morgan Hill Sports Center in August.  

“Some kids have made it through Copa Alianza, but other than that I never have heard of anybody else coming in and scouting,” Garcia said. “I think it’s a good opportunity.”

FMF is in need of volunteers to help with in-person registration and showing participants where to go. Coaches with experience that want to donate time are more than welcome to do so, as well.  

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A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.


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