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Guido's Ambition Comes Full Circle

Every day, back and forth he’d go.

Wake up. Walk across the border. Go to school. Play soccer. Walk back. Play more soccer. Sleep. Repeat.

That was Alejandro Guido’s life growing up in Tijuana, Mexico, and going to school in San Diego, Calif. He played soccer every day in both countries.

Now a standout midfielder on the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team, Guido attributes his style, and the success that has come with it so far, to his equal blend of American and Mexican soccer influences.

“I think it has affected my style a lot,” he said. “I learned both the Mexican way of playing, which is a little more technical and dramatic, and the American way, which is very competitive. Everyone wants to win."

Called in to the U.S. U-14 Boys’ National Development Program and U-15 Boys’ National Team from his small club called Aztecs Premier, Guido jumped at the chance even though it wasn’t exactly what his father wanted.

“I think it’s a little weird for him [that I play for the U.S.] but I told him that the U.S. is giving me a chance,” said Guido. “I was born in the U.S. and I think I deserve to play for the United States, which is what I wanted. He grew up playing for the Cruz Azul youth system, and is a Mexico fan, but I think he’s proud of me and how far I’ve come.”

After qualifying for the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup in February, the whole team was of course extremely happy and excited. But no one seemed as thrilled about qualifying as Guido, who couldn’t find words for how happy he was about the opportunity to play in this event, and hasn’t stopped smiling since. The opportunity to play for his country in his parents’ homeland is not lost on the young midfielder.

“I’m really looking forward to my family coming over and enjoying this with me,” he said. “They have been waiting for so long. I have a lot of family coming and I just want my parents here since they’ve helped me and given me so much.”

During his two years in Bradenton with the Residency Program, time away from his family has not been easy for Guido, who is one of four children, but it has taught him a lot about soccer and what it takes to get to the next level.

“Residency has been a great experience for me,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot, not only about how to take care of my body and grow as a player, but I’ve also learned how to become a man. It’s been a great experience for me.”

With his trips across the U.S.-Mexico border coming full circle this month, Guido can hardly contain his excitement.

“I just want the games to come already. We’ve been waiting for two years and we’re about a week away now. It still hasn’t quite hit me that with all this time we’ve put into this tournament, now it’s right here in front of us. I just want it to happen.”