When the USL Championship season begins, 17-year-old Alfonso Vazquez will be suiting up for the Hartford Athletic.
“It’s a dream to me, that’s why I’m still shocked,” said Vazquez.
After setting records at the high school level, Vazquez doesn’t have to travel far to start his professional career.
“As a former player, there is no limit,” said Athletic head coach Radhi Jaidi. “As soon as there is a will by the player, you can make it.”
Vazquez has that will. He is the youngest player to sign with the Athletic.
“It means a lot because I’m close to my family and friends and they can come see me,” said Vazquez.
After attending an open tryout for the Athletic late last year, Alfonso quickly caught the eye of the coaches.
“That’s where I discovered a natural instinct with Alfonso, which is scoring goals,” said Jaidi.
Vazquez set Connecticut’s all-time high school record with 149 goals, including 55 in his senior season at Windham High School. He has had no problem adjusting to professional soccer, adding four goals in six preseason games with the Athletic.
“They move the ball way quicker,” said Vazquez. “You just have to play very fast here.”
“This is a great moment for the Hartford Athletic as we continue to develop our program here,” added Athletic owner and CEO Bruce Mandell. “Part of our journey is to find and locate and train and build great players, not only in the state of Connecticut but in our area.”
The USL Championship is currently postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak. Whenever the season does begin, Vazquez plans to make the most of this opportunity.
“It’s always been a dream for me,” Vazquez said. “Now that it’s actually happening, I’m just ready to go to work.”