I Am Los Angeles is a video portrait series created by journalist and filmmaker Joris Debeij, showcasing the unique people and their ideas that make L.A. what it is. KCET Departures will be featuring these videos as part of our continuing coverage of the shifting cultures of Los Angeles.
Despite having two professional teams and many European stars in Los Angeles, soccer still struggles to compete in popularity with American sports like Basketball, Football and Baseball. In Southern California, Chivas Guadalajara, a team that is hugely popular in Mexico, has brought many of the area's most dedicated fans to soccer.
Leo, who used to be a Galaxy fan but now plays for the Under 14 league of Chivas USA, usually can't wait the school day to be over so he can practice soccer. Living in Downey with his younger brother and parents, Leo may be young, but he knows that repetition and conditioning are the best ways to hone his skills. One of his favorite tricks is this one: while juggling, you move your foot in a circle around the ball. He managed to do it once, but he tries tirelessly to master it...he works on it over and over again after school and homework are done.
On the rare occasion that he gets tired, he thinks about how great would it be to play for one of Europe's best soccer teams -- FC Barcelona -- with Lionel Messi, one of, if not the best players in the world. But if he ended up on a professional team in the US, well, Leo says that would be great too.
Originally published on I Am Los Angeles, 2012.
Check out more video portraits at I Am Los Angeles.