FRISCO – A future MLS star could take the field on Saturday when 4v4 tournament Futbolito takes place at the Complex at FC Dallas Stadium.
If that thought seems ridiculous, talk to FC Dallas midfielder Ricardo Villar.
He was on a team that won Futbolito nearly a decade ago in Houston.
Villar visited Houston to see his girlfriend at the time and went to a local park to workout and stay in game shape. He had just finished a season with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds shortly after graduating from Penn State.
He wound up meeting some local soccer players who were playing a pick-up game in the park.
“I played a little bit with them, they said I could do this Futbolito thing and split the money with them,” Villar said. “I said, ‘Yeah, I’m not doing anything’.”
Villar and his three impromptu teammates played in 7 matches in one day, winning each one – including the title match.
“We had no subs, it was just four of us,” Villar said. “It was competitive, little short games. Short-sided, small goals.”
Villar remembers the prize money being $500-$700 per person. It wound up being incredibly important cash on hand for him.
He had been waiting for a call from an overseas team to come over and play. A week after winning Futbolito, he got the call.
The money he won was used to buy a one-way plane ticket to Germany.
“It was funny, it was a time in my life where I was almost going away from soccer for good. Not that because of winning I stayed [with soccer]. But I played, took the cash and went to Germany,” Villar said.