Player Profile: Salvador “Junior” Villegas

Player Profile: Salvador “Junior” Villegas (on the left in cover image)

Club: Butte United Soccer Club, Hamilton City

Club Coach: Ian Byrd

Position: Midfielder/Forward

Salvador “Junior” Villegas, born in 2001, is a rising star in the Butte United Soccer Club in Northern California and plays in the NorCal Premier Soccer League, part of US Club Soccer. Villegas has caught the eye of not only the state program but also nationally having been invited to participate in state and national elite player programs for his age group.

"If you put him in front of a goal, he'll finish with both feet, he can finish his head too. He's not going to hesitate to make the correct pass. He's just a complete player," said Ian Byrd, Villegas's club coach.

In 2014, Villegas participated with the U.S. Club Soccer id2 camp in March at the Nike World Headquarters in Portland, OR and in December at the Grande Sports World; Casa Grande, Ariz. The camps were for the top boys in the nation born in 2001 that play within the US Club Soccer system. Established in 2004, US Club Soccer’s id2 National Identification and Development Program provides an opportunity for the country’s elite youth soccer players to be identified and developed, and scouted for inclusion in U.S. Soccer’s National Team programs. Daily recaps from Top Drawer Soccer note Villegas as one of the top performers at each camp.

Note from March Camp: “Salvador Villegas for Team 1 showed nimble footwork and quick dribbling ability and flashed the potential to dictate the center of the park. Villegas occasionally held the ball too long but his dribbling did open up opportunities.” - Grant Engrav, (Full Article)

Note from December Camp: “Team 4, led by midfielder Salvador Villegas, dominated their Friday evening match with Team 2 from start to finish, outshooting them 14-4, and winning 2-0.  Offensively, Villegas, paired with Jesus Esparza, Aidan O'Toole and Jeremy Shortt, kept the ball in or near the box for the entire match. Team 4 secured its first goal when Esparza lifted the ball over the keeper's head around the 10 minute mark. Villegas, who spent the majority of the day on the right wing exasperating defenders, had several deflected shots on goal, and flawlessly attempted crosses that caught teammates by surprise before the half ended in what was surprisingly only a 1-0 game.” - Ralph Amsden, (Full Article)

Read more about US Club Soccer’s id2 National Identification and Development Program.

More recently, having just concluded at the end of July, Villegas was one of 18 kids that made up a NorCal All-Star Team as part of the NorCal Premier League IDP program playing south of the border in Guadalajara, Mexico against top youth academies from Mexico. See complete roster here. This time and experience for Junior was priceless for not just soccer but also growing as an individual. 

Here is a local video featuring Villegas prior to the trip:

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The International Development Program (IDP) is a new program within the NorCal Premier Soccer Player Development Program. The objective of IDP is to identify and help develop the players who have exhibited the potential to play at the highest levels of the game - professional soccer. In addition to being free of cost, players will experience training environments similar to those of professional clubs.

Villegas is certainly one of the players that should be watched as he continues to develop and play with elite national and state programs.

About Butte United

Butte United is one of the elite youth soccer clubs in Northern California and are affiliated with US Club Soccer, NorCal Premier League and the United States Soccer Federation.

The club forms boys and girls teams in the age groups under 8s through under 19s. Many of the clubs players go on to play at the collegiate level. The club’s goal is to provide an opportunity for every player in the club to play college soccer. At the very least, the club wants the players to train and compete at the highest levels regardless if they choose to play in college. Find out more at