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Anchorage teen Obed Vargas makes MLS history with the Seattle Sounders

Major League Soccer's new logo is projected during a press conference on Thursday, Sept. 18,...
Major League Soccer's new logo is projected during a press conference on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)(Bebeto Matthews | ap)
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 8:51 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - When Anchorage’s Obed Vargas Jr. took the field for the Seattle Sounders on Thursday, at 15 years old he became the third-youngest person in history to play in a Major League Soccer match.

The Sounders started five teenagers, including Vargas, on Thursday against Austin FC, setting a league record. The teens were called up due to injuries, suspension, and international play. Prior to suiting up for Seattle, Vargas played for the Tacoma Defiance in the United Soccer League.

“Madness at our house,” Vargas’ father, Obed Vargas Sr. said. “Tears of joy watching our son play in the MLS.”

Vargas’s family was unable to make the 15-year-old’s debut since they found out the day of the match he was playing.

“He called me on the phone and I was like, no way, he is joking,” his sister Marisol Vargas said.

During his MLS debut, Vargas got to share the field with Raul Ruidiaz, one of his favorite players growing up. His family said it was a surreal moment to see Vargas on the field when Ruidiaz scored the game-winning goal to defeat Austin FC on Thursday. Prior to playing in the MLS, Ruidiaz played for a club in Morelia, Mexico where Obed Vargas Sr. grew up.

Growing up in Anchorage, Vargas began youth soccer for Rush Soccer Club before joining the Cook Inlet Soccer Club. At the age of 14, he was chosen to play for the Seattle Sounders youth academy and had to leave his family in Alaska. It wasn’t long before he was called up to the United Soccer League to play for the Tacoma Defiance.

Vargas is the second Anchorage teenager to play in the MLS this season, joining Portland Timbers goaltender Hunter Sulte who made his debut against FC Dallas in May at the age of 19.

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