By Laredo Heat SC
Youth is being served locally on the soccer field here in the Gateway City as 17-year-old Jorge “Koke” Mares-Salinas is planning for a busy 2021 summer as his soccer talent has grabbed the attention of Laredo Heat Head Coach John Powell, his coaching staff, and the club administration.
“This is an exciting time for our organization because we have always held on to the conviction of developing local athletes from our youth ranks to become better soccer players and Koke fits that expectation,” said Heat Owner Shashi Vaswani. “I have always said that soccer talent exist here in Laredo but for the most part, it’s raw, meaning that young players know the game but at times do not have the commitment or the know-how to follow through to completion, either to successful high-level college programs or even for players to play professionally.”
“Koke is proof that commitment, from both the player and family can lead to on the field success and with this opportunity for this young man,” Vaswani concluded. “We hope to showcase his abilities on the soccer pitch in order to enhance his future.”
Mares-Salinas has been kicking it since he was five years old when started playing soccer at the Rancho Viejo City League through his current team, the Laredo Heat Futures. Being the younger brother to his athletic sister Daniela Mares, a four-year Varsity Setter and three-time All-City Setter in 2017, 2018, and 2019 kept Koke on his toes and trying to keep up with the family’s athletic path.
Koke is also a member of the United High School varsity soccer team, coached by David Gutierrez where he has lettered both as a freshman and sophomore and now is playing a vital role for the team this delayed COVID-19 season.
In addition to his recent soccer exploits in Laredo, Mares-Salinas has also been active the last five years by participating with the Georgetown Force WDDOA (2015/2016), Austin Forza Campiones (2015/2016), San Antonio Elite (2016), Boerne Thunder FC USC (2016/2017), San Antonio Classic Elite (2017/2018), and has been a member of the South Texas Youth Soccer Association’s Olympic Development Program State Player Pool in 2017 and 2018.
When asked about his future plans and the opportunity to play for the Heat, Mares-Salinas said, “First of all, I want to thank God for such an amazing opportunity to play at this level at my age. I believe that with this opportunity I am going to develop my game and become stronger mentally. This chance will help me and prepare me for my future.”
“I know it won’t be easy, but I am willing to give it my all for the team and my development as a player,” Mares-Salinas concluded. “I feel that I am prepared for this next step because I have been competing at a high level of soccer for some time now and that has gotten me ready for this big step in my career.”
Photo Credit: Laredo Heat Youth Soccer