South Florida native to make World Cup debut - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

South Florida native to make World Cup debut

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Team USA member Alejandro Bedoya Team USA member Alejandro Bedoya
Soccer player Alejandro Bedoya grew up in South Florida. Soccer player Alejandro Bedoya grew up in South Florida.

MIAMI (WSVN) -- A world of opportunity is about to open for a South Florida soccer star, as the proud Team USA member prepares for his first game of the 2014 World Cup.

Twenty-seven-year-old Alejandro Bedoya was selected to represent the U.S. when the national team plays in Brazil. "It's the World Cup. It really doesn't get any bigger than this for any footballer, or soccer player, for that matter," he said.

Bedoya has traveled all around the globe to play the sport he loves, from Sweden to Scotland to France. Before he ever stepped foot on a professional soccer field, however, he bent it like Beckham in South Florida. "Yeah, I had a lot of good coaches in high school," he said. "Jobie Hughes and John Walsh from St. Thomas, they taught me a lot. Off the field, they were great with me, and on the field they brought that passion to the game."

Bedoya led St. Thomas Aquinas High School to a state championship back in 2005. He continues to give back to the program. "So generally, over winter break, if he's back in town, visiting family or whatever, he customarily stops by and talks with players," said St. Thomas Aquinas coach John Walsh. "He mingles with them and mixes with them. The kids love to be around him just because of the experience and his wealth of knowledge. He taught me a lot, and I'm proud to be from St. Thomas."

Walsh said Bedoya's experience and knowledge, coupled with his work ethic, are the traits that earned him a spot on Team USA. "He's the kind of player that coaches love to coach," he said. "All effort, all the time, did whatever you asked him to do. High motor, worked well defensively as well as offensively."

Bedoya said his talent and dedication to the sport runs in the family. "Both my grandfather and my father, they both played soccer professionally over in Colombia, and they've taught me a lot," he said. "They've taught me the game. Ever since I could walk, I was kicking a ball all over the place."

Bedoya will be able to put those 27 years of practice to the ultimate test in the next couple weeks, on the world's biggest sporting stage. "I can't say enough that I'm happy for him because he's the one who put in the work, and he's the one who deserves it."

Bedoya is not the only Team USA member with a South Florida connection. Fellow teammate Jozy Altidore grew up in Coral Springs.

Team USA will face off against Ghana in their first 2014 World Cup match on Monday, at 6 p.m.

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