KINGMAN - Landing a roster spot on any U.S. Olympic team is a tall order for an athlete to achieve, but Kingman's Gabriel Otero, 12, inched his way closer by being named to the 2003 Arizona Youth Soccer Association Boys Blue Team (13-under).
Otero attended six training sessions this month in Casa Grande and earned his spot there. He will represent Arizona in the 2016 U.S. Youth Soccer Region IV Olympic Development Program Championships Jan. 7-10 at the Reach 11 Sports Complex in Phoenix.
"I'm thankful for the opportunity to represent Arizona and play the best kids in the region," Gabriel said. "I'm extremely excited for the experiences and knowledge that I will gain, which will help me continue to grow as an athlete."
Otero and his squad will battle teams from New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska and Hawaii. Players in the tournament will be selected to attend Region IV Camp at Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore., in the summer.
Should Otero be selected, he will have the opportunity to earn a roster spot on the Region IV and/or national teams.
Arizona Blue is in Group B and it opens the tournament Jan. 7 against Hawaii. Arizona Blue then plays Alaska and Cal North on Jan. 8. The winner of Group B advances to the semifinals on Jan. 9. The three other teams move on to play consolation games.