SportsAthlete of the Week


Athlete of the Week: Marco Rios

17-year-old Pueblo native becomes first USL Academy player to earn pro contract with Switchbacks FC
Posted at 11:50 PM, Nov 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-15 01:50:38-05

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This past week, Pueblo soccer star Marco Rios became the first player in Switchbacks FC history to jump from USL Academy signee to pro.

"Words can't explain the feeling that I have right now," Marco Rios said with a smile. "It was a dream of mine to play pro soccer and I made it."

After hearing the big news, the first call the 17-year-old made was to his biggest supporters.

"Being local here, my parents come here to see me play and it's an experience that I really like," Rios said. "They were just truly happy for me and said this is just the beginning."

The Pueblo Centennial grad started playing soccer at age three. His dad coached him in his early years, teaching him the basics before he joined the Real Colorado team.

"Real {Colorado} really helped me to get to where I'm at right now," he said. "And of course my dad, ever since I was young, he was an important part in this as well."

Rios made five appearances for the Switchbacks FC this past season. He recorded two goals and was a starter for the second round of the 2023 US Open Cup.

"I've developed a lot being here the past couple months, credit to the coaches and the guys pushing me everyday," Rios said. "Everyday it's just like seeing my second family here."

The USL doesn't allow the club to disclose the details of the pro contracts to the public, however Rios says it's life changing.

"It'll change my life a lot," Rios said. "I've always wanted to help my family out, so to be in this position and be able to help my mom and my dad out with things they need help with, it's truly amazing."

Rios is expected to make an immediate impact for the Switchbacks next season.

About Athlete of the Week

News5 works to honor the high school Athlete of the Week throughout the school year in our Tuesday evening newscasts. We’re looking for that special teen who is working hard and playing right all while making parents and coaches proud.

Nominate your Athlete of the Week today! See our current and past athletes of the week, click here.