Brazilian-American after his dream to play for the U.S.
Commerce City, Colo. - When Oscar Pareja began his first meeting with the team on Monday, he asked the players coming in to tryout to introduce themselves to the rest of the group. Goalkeeper Steve Cronin went first, followed defender / midfielder Aaron Pitchkolan. Oscar then pointed to Daniel Navarro in the center of the room.
His reply was, "What?"
The room broke out in laughter as 20-year old Brazilian had no idea what was going on, his English not at the level to follow the conversation. Matt Pickens, sitting next to the youngster, told him to say where he was from.
"I am born in Hyannis, Massechusetts," he said in a strong Portuguess accent, prompting more ribbing from players.
At the age of two, Navarro's Brazilian-born parents moved the family back to their native Curitiba, Brazil, where he began his professional career.
Now he finds himself back in the United States, dreaming big.
"I have a dream to play for the U.S. National team," he said in English after a morning training session. "I am very hungry to make it here."
The former Corinthian Paranaense and Avaí Futebol Clube product isn't alone in seeking his dream to play in Major League Soccer.
Cronin has spent some time in MLS with the San Jose Earthquakes, LA Galaxy, and most recently at DC United last year. Denver-native Pitchkolan knew Pareja from their time at FC Dallas. He most recently played in the lower divisions with Rochester and Puerto Rico. For these two, their dreams start with making and MLS roster again.
Other players on trial are 20-year Edrissa Jarra, a forward from The Gambia, Supplemental draft pick Joel Helmick, a goalkeeper, and Rapids combine invitees Sam Archer and Isaac Cowles. Academy standouts Dillon Serna and Shane O'Neill are also taking part in preseason training.
Draftees Tony Cascio and Kohei Yamada had previously signed with MLS before the drafts, so they are technically on the roster. Yamada is expected to arrive from Japan next week.
The trailists have been getting an extra look from Pareja and the coaching staff, along with players that didn't feature much in 2011. It's unsure how long their opportunity to impress is, but while they are here, they are keeping their dreams alive.