(WSVN) - South Floridians love seeing one of their own getting the opportunity to be paid to play.
We’ve seen it in basketball with local stars Udonis Haslem and James Jones and now a first on a soccer pitch with Inter Miami CF.
George Acosta will soon live out his dream of playing for his hometown team.
“When the announcement came and rumors came that David Beckham was going to start a club here, I felt kind of tied to the club and I had a feeling that I was going to play here,” said Acosta.
The 21-year-old is the first South Florida born and raised player on Inter Miami CF’s roster.
He missed all of last season due to a major knee injury.
“Obviously it was a setback but I couldn’t let that affect me,” he said. “I knew what I had to do and I just trusted the process while I was going through it all.”
Acosta always had something to prove, as he left Cooper City at the age of 14 and played in Argentina for the Boca Juniors reserve team.
He also played for U.S. National youth teams and he trained with professional teams in Germany.
“There’s always like this stigma that Americans can’t play soccer so when I was there I really tried to represent America as best as I could and play good [association] football,” Acosta said.
Phil Neville is Inter Miami’s new head coach. He played 18 years in the Premier League.
Neville and team co-owner Beckham see Acosta’s talent.
“I look at the comments from the ownership, David in particular, and you think about the commitment from the ownership and from the club to produce our own players,” said Neville. “George is one of the group of maybe five to six players that are training first.”
“I want to show him what I can do right away,” Acosta said. “I want to show him that I’m ready to be there to perform.”
Neville is hoping Acosta can be a role model for young local players who can stay home, attend Inter Miami’s Youth Academy and be signed.
“Imagine if we get three, four of these young, talented local kids onto the field, then the supporters that are coming to the pitch will see somebody that’s got an Inter Miami heart, you know? When you cut the heart open it’s got Inter Miami blood,” said Neville. “I think that’s really important for the image, the fabric and for David and the ownership.”
The season is set to start on April 18 against the LA Galaxy.
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