Net worth: Austin’s Martinez is chasing the dream of pro soccer

Published 5:31 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2023

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Aidan Martinez had a chance to go down as the best soccer player in Austin Packer history, but now he’s going to try to become one of the best players in the state of Minnesota.

Martinez, who will be a junior this fall, had to make some bittersweet goodbyes last week as he bid farewell to AHS to chase his dream of playing professional soccer. Martinez has landed a spot on the roster with Minnesota United FC’s Academy team and he will be moving from Austin to Richfield to live with his father. He will attend online school.

“It’s going to be sad. I talked to (AHS head coach) Jens (Levisen) a little bit, but I know they’ll support me and I’ll definitely be coming to some games to cheer them on,” Martinez said. “It’s going to be all new for me. It will be difficult, but I have my family members behind me and my friends supporting me. I’ll be good.”

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Martinez caught the eye of MNUFC over the summer when he attended a few ID camps and trained with the team. After receiving an invite to join the team, he played in a few summer league games in Dallas, Texas with the squad, which includes some of the best high school aged players from across the nation.

Austin native Aidan Martinez signs with MNUFC Academy on Monday. Photo provided

“This is a huge opportunity. I’ve been waiting for it my whole life,” Martinez said. “Not many kids get a chance like this. I’m just blessed.”

Martinez burst onto the varsity soccer scene as a goal scoring threat when he was just an eighth grader for the Packers, but he missed all of the 2022 season with an injury. Martinez had to watch from the sideline as the Packers went to state in 2022. Austin will certainly be in the mix to get back to state this fall, but he will have to follow his friends from afar as he hopes to eventually climb to the highest level of soccer in the United States.

“(Rehab) was difficult. It wasn’t easy,” Martinez said. “I just had to take my time and try not to rush anything. Getting back to soccer was pretty easy for me though.”

Martinez is the younger brother of former Austin standout Andres Garcia, who has played soccer at Division II St. Cloud State University for the past two seasons. Garcia and AHS grad Henry Tolbert, who was named Mr. Soccer with the Packers, played for Med City FC in Rochester this summer.

Martinez has always followed in Garcia’s footsteps, and he’s had his mind on surpassing him for quite some time now. A couple of years ago, Garcia told the Herald that he thought Martinez would end up being better than him and now that is looking like it will be the case.

“Andres has been an inspiration my whole life. He’s been there for me my whole life through my ups and downs. He’s always been there,” Martinez said. “I always knew I was going to be better than him and it wasn’t a surprise to me (when he said I would be better), but it was a great compliment.”

According to the program’s website, MNUFC teams take the place of other club soccer participation, transitioning players into a year-round calendar and a more intensive professional environment as they get closer to the first team. This structure operates at the U17 and U19 levels.

The goal of players at MNUFC is to advance to MNUFC2, which is where players have a chance to ascend to the first team and play professional soccer.

Martinez, who is the first ever AHS soccer player to be chosen for an academy team, is entering the season as a winger, but he is open to playing any position.

“I’m super excited. I literally can’t wait,” he said.