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Mexico is where the action is
by Paul Kennedy, July 23rd, 2010 1:19AM

TAGS:  mexico, my view


[MY VIEW] The most intriguing matchup on the opening weekend of play in Mexico's Torneo Apertura is Saturday's game between Pachuca and Club America. It's indicative of the importance the Mexican league is to the U.S. national team that as many as four Americans -- three for Pachuca and one for America -- could be in action. And that's just scratching the surface on American talent in Mexico ...

The signing of Herculez Gomez from Puebla, where he shared the 2010 Torneo Bicentenario scoring title, and Marco Antonio Vidal to go along with Jose Francisco Torres gives Pachuca, the 2010 Concacaf Champions League winner, three Americans.

Isaac Acuna, a 20-year-old midfielder, debuted for America last spring. He is the first prep product from Calexico, Calif., to turn pro since Paulo Wanchope, who starred in basketball in the border town and went on to play for Costa Rica in two World Cups.

Four other First Division teams -- Atlante, Estudiantes Tecos, Guadalajara and San Luis -- have Americans on their first team, and Jonathan Bornstein will join Tigres in January.

But it's at the youth level -- on the Fuerzas Básicas -- where you will find dozens of Americans, most of them of Mexican descent, pursuing the dream of making it big in Mexican soccer.

Torres, whose younger brother Guillermo is in Pachuca's youth system, is the first player to parlay success in Mexico into a significant role on the U.S. national team.

And while many of the Mexican-American players have been tempted to play for Mexico -- Edgar Castillo of San Luis played for Mexico at the youth level before changing his allegiance back to the USA -- U.S. Soccer is aggressively seeking out Americans in Mexico.

Eight Mexican-based players recently attended a U-20 national team camp in San Jose, and three of them are headed to the Milk Cup next week in Northern Ireland. (El Paso, Texas, product Omar Salgado has since left Chivas reportedly because his participation with the USA conflicts with the Guadalajara's club Mexico-only policy.)

The odds are stacked against these gringos making it in Mexico's top league, let along on the U.S. national team. Dozens of players pass through the youth systems of the big Mexican clubs each year.

But if even one Jose Torres makes it big every couple of years, that will be a very good return.

  1. David Huff
    commented on: July 23, 2010 at noon
    Mexico is a good place to go for a player to use his technical skills and where the payscale is considerably more than what MLS offers.
  1. James Froehlich
    commented on: July 24, 2010 at 10:21 a.m.
    Mr. Fonseca, you have nailed it again!! Why the sudden interest in these Gringo-Mexicans!! We have ignored them for years and now a sudden interest?? Yeah, let's recruit all of them so that they can ride the bench because their "style" doesn't fit the "US style". If I were a Mexican-American player, I would take one look at how Torres and Gomez were treated and head south of the border as quick as my legs could take me and hope that my Mexican heritage would give me a chance at their national team. The sad fact is that there has never been a place for Hispanic players in the US "kick and rush" system and if I were Hispanic I would be very suspicious of any initiatives coming out of the US coaching fraternity US Soccer.

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