EDINBURG (KVEO) — One small trip next door. One giant leap in a career.

It may not be as big as the moon, but under the shadows of H-E-B park lies a field of soccer pitches —The home to the IDEA Toros academy.

Academy product and 19-year-old defender Diego Rocha practiced his craft on those fields. The young defender says he models his game after Mexican Legend Rafa Marquez, a player regarded as one of Mexico’s all-time greatest players.

Rocha practiced enough and become the first academy product to sign a professional contract with RGV FC.

“It’s just like home here,” Rocha said of the Rio Grande Valley.

It feels like home because, for much of his life, it has been home.

Originally from Laredo, Rocha moved to the Valley to train at the Toros Academy. He enjoyed plenty of success, and, when his opportunity came, he earned his reward.

“There are a lot of different things that have to go the right way for it to work,” RGV FC President Ron Patel said. “So, the fact that a young man like him is seeing by Wilmer as someone who can make it is something special.”

Rocha joins a group of new players with experience in the LIGA MX, MLS and European clubs, including long-time Deportivao Toluca F.C. star Vicente Sanchez. The new influx of talent brings about new, and exciting, expectations for the Toros.

“I just want to start already,” Rocha said. “I want it to be May first, but I have to wait.”

Patel is also looking forward to the season, which begins Saturday, May 1, when New Mexico United visits H-E-B Park for the USL Championship opener.

“Diego is going to have such a learning experience this year to be around such great talent,” Patel added. “I just can’t wait to see all these guys working together on the field.”