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Heat, Bravos come together for LareDos Cup

April 21, 2009

April 21, 2009

The Laredo Heat administration and Bravos of Nuevo Laredo team president Cesar Valdez gathered at the Heat's headquarters Monday for a press conference.

Taking center stage was Wednesday's exhibition contest between the Heat and Bravos taking place at the Texas A&M International Soccer Complex at 8 p.m.

Valdez and Heat president Shashi Vaswani hope that the friendly contest, dubbed the LareDOS Cup, is the first of many.

Plans are already in the works within the Bravos organization to host the event next season.

"We want to develop this tournament to illustrate to Laredo what two-legged games are, in which you play two games, home and away," Vaswani said.

Both club presidents took the time to express their wish that the sister cities heed their calls to provide more and better soccer facilities in which the youth can play in.

"I invested in the TAMIU fields already, as for the rest, well, that's the job of the county and city," Vaswani said.

"The Heat is for loss. I'm doing this to try to help the community."

The Heat and Bravos organizations both set up shop back in 2004 and both have experienced their own share of success.

While the Heat is backed by Vaswani, the Bravos have 10 owners backing the club.

The Heat has already claimed a Premier Development League championship and has been to the finals the past three years, while the Bravos survived the downsizing once the third tier of professional soccer in Mexico was labeled the Liga Premier de Ascenso.

"We were two minutes short of playing in the championship game last season," Valdez said in Spanish.

The Bravos are on the tail end of their 2009 campaign, while the Heat begin its season next month.

Both clubs are trying to groom their own talents.

The Bravos are quicker to add the youth to the pitch since all their players have to be 12 years of age or younger.

"This is a process," Valdez said.

"We can go out and find a bunch of talent that we can play with every weekend.

But we want the kids to have the discipline and mindset to be able to play all season.

"Not just anybody can do that."

The Heat has its own internal farm system in the works and is hoping to showcase some of the homegrown talent this season.

Players that have grown up along with the Heat's youth organization include Felix Garica and Frank Lara.

They want to form a sporting culture which will eventually breed a championship team for the Bravos and another title for the Heat.

"We are hoping that a tournament like the LareDOS Cup can bring out the beauty and positive aura of 'Los Dos Laredos'," Heat Chief Operating Officer/General Manager J.J. Vela said.

"We've had too much negativity going on."

Vaswani added, "We want to develop the kids and use soccer as a tool for progress in education, careers and even professionally."