Alianza de Futbol wants to ensure the U.S. Hispanic population has plenty of chances to play soccer and it’s only growing.
The organization started in 2004, bringing together adult Hispanic leagues with Copa Alianza, a tournament for Hispanic adults in the U.S. Copa Alianza has since grown to include a youth tournament, 5v5 tournament, women’s programs, coaching clinics and a tryout program with scouts present from the Mexican National Team, MLS, USL, LigaMX and college programs, according to Joaquin Escoto, Alianza de Futbol managing partner.
Alianza de Futbol has program sponsorship from Allstate Insurance, Toyota, Univision Deportes and JugoTV, all of which Escoto says allows the organization to keep entry fees low while playing in top venues and providing quality uniforms.
Now, Alianza has a major global soccer league behind it.
In January, FOS detailed La Liga’s focus on growing its fanbase in the U.S. Recognizing the strong developmental program of Alianza, La Liga is committing to the growth of Hispanic youth soccer in the U.S.
“Talent development is one of the key pillars of La Liga North America and is critical to our mission of growing soccer in the United States,” North American CEO Boris Gartner says. “We are committed to providing more opportunities for young people and underserved communities to compete and advance their skills.”
Developing talent could also ultimately prove beneficial for La Liga clubs. The league is also deeply involved in this year’s 10-city Alianza de Futbol Tour, which runs from May to September. Additionally, La Liga coaches will be at the Allstate Sueño Alianza National Showcase, where they will select 18 players from an original pool of 5,000. This all-star team will travel to Spain for two weeks of play against La Liga academies and other youth clubs.
“La Liga is providing an amazing opportunity to the players,” Escoto says. “There’s a huge talent pool and to have LaLiga want to invest and grow the game is one thing. But it will give these players a legit chance to stay in La Liga.”
Along with providing 18 of the players in the system a chance to earn a trip – and potential roster spots in Spain – La Liga will be at all 10 stops on the tour, helping train players and coaches. Alianza de Futbol has partnered with leagues — including MLS, USL and LigaMX — before, but La Liga is the first to invest heavily.
On top of the on-the-field activity, there’s also a fan experience, showcasing the La Liga trophy and kits from all 20 teams. The fan experience shows how the relationship is mutually beneficial, as La Liga hopes to build a deeper connection with a fanbase open to new soccer fandoms.
“They know they’re opening more doors and bringing themselves closer to the fans,” Escoto says.
As Alianza de Futbol continues to evolve, Escoto says the exposure will continue to draw more into the program. This year, the organization also announced its four-year partnership with Univision, which gains exclusivity to coverage of the Alianza tour. At the end of the season, a one-hour program from the Sueño Alianza.
Building on the Univision partnership, Escoto says a large area of investment in the future will be telling the stories of Alianza, specifically mentioning content from the tour of Spain with the 18 players selected for the tour.
“Telling stories that are incredible will help the program grow,” he says. “These Hispanic families that drove six hours for the scouts to see them and now their lives are changed.”
From connecting previously unlinked adult leagues with a championship to sending players to Spain, Escoto says the next focus is continuing youth development and connecting the scouting program to more outlets.
Of the 5,000 players involved this season, maybe seven will play professionally, but another 40 could play in college, Escoto claims. To accompany that goal, the Alianza Foundation is helping players in the organization with strong grade point averages attain free mentoring, including SAT and college prep courses.
“We want to go deeper into the college space, so you’ll see a lot of us going into that space,” Escoto says. “Every year, we’ll look at the events and what’s needed and try tome it better.”
Some players from this year’s Alianza de Futbol Tour will make a splash in Spain, but many more could gain positive life experiences.