LAS VEGAS (FOX5) - Former Lights FC player and UNLV men's soccer player Julian Portugal is helping local youth soccer players reach new heights.
Natalia Ortiz, 13, was recently ranked as the fastest girl in the 12-14 age group. She topped speeds of nearly 15 mph. Ortiz received top honors for having the highest work rate, clocking in at 130.1 yards per minute in a game. Ortiz used a training app called Uno by Playmaker to track her progress.
She credits her trainer Portugal for her progress and success.
"I think I've been getting better with my technical footwork and with my shots. Before my shots weren't that well, I didn't know how to kick that great. I've been able to learn more from my trainer Portugal and just get better with my technique." Ortiz said.
As youth soccer players turn to training apps and wearing sensors to improve their technique, Portugal tells us how he’s seeing the sport evolve quickly.
"In every aspect of the game, technical, physical. Before kids used to train two to three times a week now it's Monday through Friday play Saturday and do private lessons on Sundays. So kids are playing soccer year round Monday-Sunday. So I think that's definitely elevated the game." Portugal said.
Portugal hopes Natalia can continue to see improvements in her technique and grow in her career.
Portugal Sports Academy looks to become a soccer hub here in Las Vegas.