Spotlight Profile: Oscar Reyes of FC Golden State Orange County
As a member of UCLA’s prestigious soccer program, a player in the U.S. U17 National Team and a professional in Europe, Oscar Reyes experienced every level of the game at first hand.
Soccer is in his blood - his father, Jorge, played professionally in Mexico and Germany and his older brother was also a pro.
Now the youth teams at FC Golden State Orange County are benefiting from Oscar’s wealth of knowledge as he works with his childhood friend and fellow Santa Ana native David Arvizu to build the growing club’s soccer program.
Oscar started playing almost as soon as he could walk and was a member of the Irvine Strikers as a youngster before he was selected for the national U17 side. Oscar was also a member of the U-18 LA Galaxy and U-20 Chivas USA.
He was a First-team all-league midfielder at Saddleback High School and the only freshman starter on the varsity team when it won the CIF and National Championship in 2004-05.
The skillful center midfielder was also team captain for the Strikers, which were finalists at the 2007 Manchester United Premier Cup and National Cup.
In 2008, he was recruited by UCLA and played all four years before heading to Europe where he played in The Netherlands for JOS Watergraafsmeer, the feeder team for world renown Ajax of Amsterdam.
After playing in Holland for 1 1/2 years, Oscar signed a contract to play First Division soccer in Hungary in the same team as his older brother, Jorge.
Returning to the U.S. in the summer of 2014, the Reyes brothers started their own company, Kings Pro, making customized soccer shin guards. As young players, Oscar and Jorge would write inspirational quotes on their shin guards and they decided to market the idea.
But the lure of the game was strong and, although he continued playing at the top level as a member of the U.S. Beach Soccer Team, his heart was in coaching.
“Besides having my parents, brother, and sister as my main support group and inspiration, I also had a couple of coaches that played an important role in my career,” said Oscar, whose brother is now an assistant coach at Cal State Fullerton. “Jose Retiz in High School and Eddie Soto at UCLA really made an impact on my life and now I want to make an impact on others.”
Then came a fateful phone call from his old friend David Arvizu, who wanted Oscar to join up with him at FC Golden State.
“My goal has always been to help young players coming up and I felt like coaching was the perfect way to do that,” said Oscar, 26. “Our aim is to help our players through the U.S. system, which is different than Europe or South America. We want to help prepare the youth for college soccer and the professional world as well.”
“It’s a rebuilding club and we want to fashion it in our image. It’s a great opportunity to pass on all the knowledge we have gained through our experiences.”
Now as well as working with David at FC Golden State Orange County he also coaches with him at Foothill High School.
Here’s our Q&A with Oscar to let you know a little more about him:
1. Can you sum up your soccer philosophy in one sentence?
Reyes: We want to be a club that emphasizes the foundations of touch, technique, maintaining possession, and stretching the field with constant movement of the ball.
2. What are the most important attributes you look for in a young player?
Reyes: I like a player who fills your eyes technically/tactically and has great speed of play. Without these attributes, you will not play at the next level. Especially in the United States, many players are overlooked because of their physical attributes. I look for soccer players first. You can always work on the physical aspect.
3. Who is/was your favorite pro player and pro team?
Reyes: Zinedine Zidane and FC Barcelona.
4. In one sentence, sum up your own background in soccer?
Reyes: I loved playing for UCLA and in Europe and it was a great thrill to represent my country at the U17 National Team level. I still get to represent my country through beach soccer. Soccer was a true blessing in my life. Because of it, I was able to accomplish many dreams I had as a kid. Orange County is a hot bed for soccer players and I hope to help as many kids reach their full potential.
5. What’s the best advice you can offer to a youth player?
Reyes: The best advice I can offer the youth player is to ask themselves the question: Why? Why are you doing this? If you know the answer, not just in soccer but in life, that is the only piece of motivation you will ever need to make sure you succeed.