Oliveira wins Sounders FC's SuperSearch reality show - Seattle Times
Oliveira beat out nine other finalists to win a place on the team roster.
By José Miguel Romero, Seattle Times staff reporter
TUKWILA — Vinicius "Vini" Oliveira was so confident he'd be on a plane Monday morning to California that he told his mother he wasn't coming back to his family's home in Edmonds Sunday night.
Turns out Oliveira was right to be so sure of himself. The 20-year old native of Brazil, who came to the Seattle area in 2003 and was a soccer standout for Bellevue Community College, was named winner of Seattle Sounders FC's SuperSearch reality show Sunday night at Starfire Sports Complex. His prize was a spot on Sounders FC's roster.
Oliveira was chosen out of 10 finalists by a panel of judges that included Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid, technical director Chris Henderson and general manager Adrian Hanauer. He'll be on a flight to Southern California at 10 a.m. Monday along with his new teammates, who are headed south to continue training camp at Oxnard College in Oxnard, Calif. this week.
"This is a dream come true," Oliveira said, moments after pulling on a rave green Sounders FC jersey and being mobbed by family, friends and teammates. "Soccer is my dream. Soccer is my life. Sometimes when I think too much about soccer, I can't even sleep."
Oliveira, a 6-foot, 168-pound forward, was one of four players to emerge as finalists for SuperSearch from an open tryout the team held in November in Yakima. He and Junior Garcia, a native of Sunnyside, were the last two remaining as the competition came to a close. The SuperSearch finals, shown Sunday night on live TV, opened with the introduction of the 10 finalists (from three sites), which included Federal Way's Erik Sterling and Bellevue's Oliver Wellman.
The 10 were quickly cut to four, and those four played a two-on-two match. Then two players, Chase Mikkelsen and Dallas Jaussi, were cut, and Oliveira and Garcia played one-on-one before a small crowd.
While the televised portion of the program lasted about an hour, the judges based much of their evaluations on what they saw in an 11-on-11 match played Saturday that featured the 10 finalists and a goalkeeper against a local team, the Seattle Wolves.
"He's got fairly good size. He's a player that has room to grow," Schmid said of Oliveira, who lost the one-on-one game to Garcia 5-3 but was nevertheless selected the overall winner.
The judges thought Oliveira was the stronger of the final two. "With Vini we saw a couple of more things," Schmid said.
Oliveira, who also starred at Sammamish High School, becomes the 31st player currently listed on Seattle's roster.