EL PASO, Texas – El Paso Locomotive FC achieved a milestone in announcing the first graduating class from the Locomotive Youth Soccer Academy with 10 college-bound student-athletes on Thursday.

The accomplishment highlights El Paso Locomotive Youth Soccer’s unwavering dedication to offering the most comprehensive development of youth soccer players in the Borderland.

“The Academy program has been more fruitful after one full year than I could have imagined.  I honestly didn’t think we would get to the point where we were competing in national leagues, major tournaments, and big-time friendlies in one year; I thought we could get there in five years,” said Locomotive FC general manager Andrew Forrest. “What the players, coaches and parents have put in is nothing short of amazing.  I wish these boys going to play college soccer all the best and there are going to be more and more of these stories every year as we get better and continue growing.”

The Locomotive Academy provides opportunities for young players who may have gone unrecruited in the region to have the visibility and resources necessary to be discovered by collegiate coaches—further highlighting the wealth of soccer talent El Paso has to offer on the national stage.

Six of the 10 graduating members signed USL Academy contracts allowing them to gain first-team professional experience while also maintaining their collegiate eligibility. Two graduating Academy players also made their professional debut with the senior team this season—Noe Coutino and Venancio Calderon.

“This is a testament to the hard work and sacrifice that each one of these players and their families have committed over the years. These players joined our Academy from many different clubs from around the area to achieve their goals. Without the foundation that they developed in their early years, this would not have been possible,” said Academy Director Ivan Militar. “Our ultimate goal as an Academy is to inspire and empower each of our players to reach the highest level possible within the game and in life, while fostering leaders and individuals who will inspire others to do the same.”

Noe Coutino – University of Vermont
Venancio Calderon – West Texas A&M University
Arath Uvina – UT Tyler
Oscar Sosa – UT Tyler
Julian Maud – UT Tyler
Felix Casas – Tyler Junior College
Jaime Villagomez – Tyler Junior College
Alex Sanchez – UT Tyler
Leo Aguirre – UT Tyler
Rene Vasquez – UTEP