Jul 4, 2014 1:17 AM by Richie Melby (

FC Tucson leaning on local product Ricardo Velazco

Soccer is arguably one of the most grueling sports in the world, taking a toll both physically and mentally with every match. That's especially true for FC Tucson standout Ricardo Velazco who has learned numerous positions across the field.

"Whenever you step out there and the bleachers are full you get a little more energy and a little bit more pumped," Velazco said.

Every athlete dreams of playing the sport they love in front of a packed house. For Velazco, a local Arizona boy, that packed house at FC Tucson home games is full of familiar faces.

"I get a lot of fans for sure," he said. "A lot of family members and friends from here in Tucson but I'm very excited to be here and play here."

Ricardo Velazco

Velazco's soccer journey has led him from his hometown in Casa Grande to the collegiate fields of Cal State Bernardino and Louisville, even the Real Salt Lake Academy where the attacking midfielder was instructed as a defender, which was quite the change on the pitch.

"It was a little tough at first because I was so used to playing forward," Velazco admitted. "But as a player you have to take it all in and embrace it. I learned a lot from it."

That's the kind of athlete Velazco is. He is willing to soak up as much information as possible to advance his skills. That may just lead him to the next level.

"I think attacking midfield, I have to do a lot of defensive work as well. I have to find the right balance of when to go forward and when to track back," he said. "That's what I learned in that Real Salt Lake Academy."


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