Soccer coach brothers open international doors for students 

Two brothers who are teachers in schools in the W.W. Samuell High School community are combining their talents to make their students’ dreams of becoming international soccer players come true. Gabriel Valles—a world history, AP world history, and Mexican American studies teacher at Samuell High School—and Miguel Valles—a sixth-grade world cultures teacher at Piedmont Global Academy—are taking five of their soccer team students to Argentina next summer.

The Valles brothers, who are both soccer coaches, are preparing their students to participate as part of a Dallas ISD team that will be representing  the district in tournaments in the summer of 2024 in Argentina.

In their youth, Gabriel and Miguel had experience playing around the country and in Argentina, so when their students were offered spots on the Dallas ISD team, it was a no-brainer for them. 

This is the first time that this brother duo will take their students to Argentina. They will be there from June 26 through July 4. The ultimate goal is to take a Samuell team to Europe the following summer. They credit Marisela Lopez, assistant director of the Dallas ISD Department of Athletics with the initial idea of taking their students to Argentina.

Gabriel and Miguel had been working together for several years at Piedmont running the soccer program for boys and girls before the opportunity to play internationally came up for their students. When Gabriel began teaching at Samuell, not only did the collaboration continue, the efforts were expanded to include the soccer team at the high school.

Growing up in the Dallas area, they played for the same club team and have a lot of similar styles in terms of how they coach and collaborate, so it was a very natural fit, Miguel said. In the areas where they don’t share similarities, they complement each other, making it easy for them to work together, the brothers agree.

Miguel first went to Argentina at the age of 14 with another teammate and participated in trials with various teams in the country, and then both brothers went when Miguel was 17 and Gabriel was 14. When Gabriel joined Miguel the second time, the whole soccer team went. 

“It taught me a lot about who I am and who I wanted to be,” said Miguel. “I know the value of that kind of experience, especially for a young person, and then coupled with high level competition, it really molds character. So it was a big deal for me, and it certainly sent me on a trajectory for the years to come.”

Because Miguel and Gabriel know the value of this opportunity for their students, they are working on making this available for more of them. 

“When you’ve never done something like this before, and you start to do it, you realize it’s not just on TV, and it’s not just something someone else does. We can do it,” Gabriel said. 

Gabriel says that it challenges their students to look beyond their own neighborhoods, and when they go to places like Mexico to visit family, it’s still something that’s familiar to them. 

When you go to someplace as different as Argentina, even though they speak Spanish, it’s a different kind of Spanish than what many of the students are used to, and when it’s summer in Dallas, it’s winter in Argentina.

“It teaches students to look beyond their schools and neighborhoods,” Gabriel said. “And not only do they become better players, but it expands their worldview. When you’re halfway across the world, you might realize you’re not as good as you thought you were or you might realize you’re as good as you thought, or you’re better than you thought you were.” 

Gabriel and Miguel echo the same sentiment that there is no doubt in their minds that their students will come out better people after this experience. 

It was their coaches that mentored both brothers in their youth, and they hope to do the same for their students. One coach in particular—José María “Josema” Bazán, a former professional soccer player, who played on the Argentina national team and started a soccer club for youth in Dallas—supported them. 

As far as funding for the trip to Argentina, a community partner is helping fund approximately $500 per student, and the students are paying for the rest. If anyone is interested in learning more about the soccer program, contact or

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