Mexican soccer offers the possibility for Americans to earn more money than they can in MLS, but they won't find stability as Grant Wahl reports in interviews with Americans DaMarcus Beasley, Herculez Gomez and Marco Vidal about life south of the border.
Beasley is in his first season at Puebla but hasn't been paid since December. Beasley, who had spent seven seasons in Europe, discovered just how bad things were last Friday when he drove to Puebla stadium only to be told by security guards he couldn't enter. The Mexican government had seized the stadium for unpaid taxes. "They took everything, basically," he said.
Gomez has moved on from Puebla, where he starred in 2010, to Pachuca, Estudiantes Tecos and now Santos in Torreon. He had to think twice about the move because Torreon is considered one of the 10 most violent cities in the world. Santos players told him he'd be OK in Torreon, but he describes it as like a ghost town at night. "People aren't really on the streets at night, and for good reason," he said. "There's a lot of worry here with everything going on. So far I haven't felt unsafe, but I also don't turn the TV on."
Vidal, who made a name for himself at now-defunct Indios in Ciudad Juarez, knows all about the crime. He got carjacked driving his 2008 Audi sedan in the border city. The lessons: the police won't do much to help and it doesn't pay to drive around in a nice car. The situation in Ciudad Juarez has deteriorated badly since the Dallas product first moved to Ciudad Juarez, and it has cost him in a big way. The house Vidal bought is worth a lot less than what he paid, and he can't sell it. (He now plays for Leon in the second division.)