After being a prolific scorer at the academy level for the Houston Dynamo, Juan “Charly” Flores was signed by Rio Grande Valley FC ahead of their inaugural campaign. While playing time wasn’t frequent, he got to ease into the professional ranks under the tutelage of now Houston coach Wilmer Cabrera, and alongside a welcoming group of veterans. I spoke with Charly, 19, about the lessons he’s learned, where he can develop this offseason, and what the kids are listening to nowadays.
Dynamo Theory: Well to start off, how did you enjoy your first professional season?
Charly Flores: It was a great experience, and an outstanding opportunity for me to grow as a player, on and off the field. It was tough getting use to it, but after I got used to it, then the rest of the season went smooth. Unfortunately, I had a knee injury by the end of the season that took me out for the rest of the USL Season.
DT: What was the biggest thing you learned in 2016?
Flores: The biggest thing I learned is that, no matter how hard the situation is, or no matter what the result is, we have to take the bad things from a game, and put them away. Also, we need to take the good things from the game, and carry them on to the next game.
DT: Wilmer is known for his ability to develop young players. How much did he help you this season?
Flores: Wilmer is a great coach. He has helped a lot of the development players that are new to the professional level to make calm and smarter decisions. He also teaches us about being patient and waiting for that opportunity, and as soon as we get the opportunity to take over and prove to the coaches that we belong there.
DT: What veterans on RGVFC helped you out the most?
Flores: I am sure all of the younger players could say the same thing, each and every one of the veteran players helped each and every one of the rookies, helping them inside and off the field. Honestly, I think the main ones will be (George) Malki and Kevin Garcia. Ever since day 1 with the Toros, they have helped each of the rookies to get use to the professional level.
DT: You’ve had the pleasure of being selected for the USMNT’s U-20 side in the past year. How have you enjoyed those opportunities?
Flores: You know, it has been a great experience being with the US U-20 squad. From the coaching staff to players, it is a great honor and experience to be able to be blessed, and get the opportunity to be part of that. Not everyone gets the opportunity that I’ve been given.
DT: With your first pro season in the books, what areas do you feel you need to work on this off season?
Flores: I think I need to work on a lot of things, but the main one I would say, is my defending. Also, my holding the ball up top for more players to come to support. Those are the main things I will be working on this season to prepare for the next season.
DT: When you weren’t practicing or playing games, what did you like to do in your free time?
Flores: Away from the pitch, I liked laying in bed, listen to some calm music, and relax a little, sometimes even watch soccer games and watch a few movies. But one of my favorite things to do on my free time, is give back to the community. It is always great to give back to the people who come out to support us on our game days!
DT: What songs are a must have on your pregame playlist?
Flores: *Laughs* This is always a tricky one for me. Honestly I have four of my favorite songs:
- Queen - Don’t Stop Me Now (My favorite one )
- Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
- Los Plebes Del Rancho De Ariel Camacho - Del Negociante
- Survivor - Eye Of The Tiger (The Rocky Song)
- Desiigner - Panda