alberto vizcarra_2015

Calexico High graduate Jesus Alberto Vizcarra is heading off to Croatia to pursue his dream of becoming a professional soccer player. MARIO RENTERIA PHOTO

Calexico High 2012 graduate Jesus Alberto Vizcarra has a big dream and he's going all the way to Europe to pursue it.

The 20-year-old Imperial Valley College student is hoping to be a professional soccer player with a big club team in Europe and he's starting in Croatia later this month.

"I hope to gain experience and for Croatia to be a stepping stone for me to go to a bigger club, bigger league, to play in a big division league club in Europe," said the former forward for the Bulldogs.

He's only days away from traveling to a country he's never visited, a trip that started soon after graduating high school.

"I started looking for teams to improve my game. Thankfully, I found this school that is affiliated with Atlas of Guadalajara in Mexicali," he said.

The school is Centro de Alto Rendimiento Proyect Talents A.C., where he played from August 2013 through last year. He attended a tournament in July with the school in Guadalajara, where he garnered interest from other scouts.

He returned in November to Guadalajara, where his immediate future was set.

"They already have links with some teams (around the world)," Vizcarra said. "They asked me if I wanted to go play in Croatia or Bosnia, I chose Croatia."

On Jan. 18 he'll head back to Guadalajara, where he will meet with his agent and another player from Mexico. The three will make the trip across the North Atlantic Ocean to Croatia on Jan. 20.

"It feels like (I'm) close to a big accomplishment, but I don't let that (drop) me into a comfort zone," he said. "I want to have missions, go for more and hopefully one day play in a big top club."

Vizcarra is putting his education on hold to pursue his dream. He's close to graduating from IVC with a degree in administration of justice. Should the pro career not pan out, he'll pursue his bachelor's degree.

In Croatia, he'll find out what team he will play with.

For now, he's leaving the comforts of home, family and friends for a few months to pursue a dream in a country that can put a freeze to his dreams or open doors for his future.

"Everyone is so accustomed to the Valley that they fear going away," he said. "If you have a dream, go for it, only you can stop yourself."