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American-born Ponce leads Mexico to title
by Paul Kennedy, April 3rd, 2012 12:39AM

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TAGS:  americans abroad, mexico, olympics

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[OLYMPIC QUALIFYING] You could call Miguel Ponce another one who got away, but the American-born midfielder was the hero of Mexico's 2-1 win over Honduras in the final of the Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournament with the winning goal in overtime.

Ponce, who also scored in Mexico's semifinal win over Canada that clinched a berth at the London Olympics, plays for Guadalajara, which he joined at the age of 15.

He was born in Sacramento but moved to Mexico before he was 1. He moved from Guadalajara to Tijuana when he was 10 and crossed the border to attend school in the San Diego suburbs. He had completed his freshman year at San Ysidro High School when Chivas scouts spotted him.

Ponce told concacaf.com that he might have played for the USA in different circumstances but that Mexico asked him to play first.

Mexico's under-23 team will be the most tested squad in the London Olympics. Last summer, it played in the Copa America and later in the year it took part in the Pan American Games in Guadalajara.



13 comments
  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: April 3, 2012 at 9:11 a.m.
    Thankyou Paul. How can this continue to happen? Another great player lost because of our terrible scouting system. How can soccer grow in Usa when there is no effort of showcasing the best talent availavle ?? This is the eason we are not competing and getting embarrassed by tiny El Salvador, Gatemala and Panama and losing now to Canada. Keep on blaming the goalie and coach while Mexico keeps winning with Usa players.

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: April 3, 2012 at 10:15 a.m.
    Blame it on Areana and Bradley, between the two of them they have failed to see anybody else but Anglo last named players or college players. Neither one have emraced the "melting pot" America/USA.

  1. Jack Niner
    commented on: April 3, 2012 at 11:24 a.m.
    There is a player scouting system in the USA!?

  1. Mario Araujo
    commented on: April 3, 2012 at 11:26 a.m.
    @Luis Areeola I beg to differ with you Luis the US scouting program is much better than Mexico's. The US gets players not only that can play for Mexico or the US but if you look at the US line up, they are getting them from all over the world and especially from Germany. I hear the Mexicans complain that the US is always getting the Mexican Americans first. Ponce is a special case because he lived in Mexico more than the US and he was already playing with Chivas Guadalajara. On another note though, I really dislike the US club soccer system because it pretty much excludes kids of the lower economic ladder. I coach kids that have no money but boy can they play. The USA system of play is so antiquated and I see even the best US coaches still stuck in the old system and do not know how to change. They are incapable of training skillful possession style play.

  1. Efrahim Fernandez
    commented on: April 3, 2012 at 11:57 a.m.
    In the present and the past soccer in the USA was for those with financial means. Getting thru state ODP to regional ODP can cost up to 4K when you take into account all expenses. Most families can not afford the cost. That limits the pool of kids. I know of many young men who could add to the pool but do not even try because there parents can not afford the cost. I also agree that the coaching philosphy must change. I have watched how one player who is very talented on the ball is told to consistenly play quicker one and two touches when he is capable of breaking down defenses with his dribble. I saw him once taken on two players and scored a nice goal but was told by the coach that he held on to the ball to long. Wrong approach, People ask why we do not have a Messi, Christiano,or Zavi in the USA ? We would never allow them to play without destroying their creativity by over coaching them. We focus on Messi lack of a right foot , Christiano selfishness with the ball an Javi lack of speed ? Let the kids play with less coaching. No street soccer no success for USA..

  1. John Miller
    commented on: April 3, 2012 at 12:25 p.m.
    Mario, you are right on the money. Until the boys at the top making the decisions realize that it is not about money, we will move ahead. Say Phillipe, did you fall and bump your head this mornning. That is a really (I'll be nice bc it is a nice day in the heartland) "goofy" comment. Arena and Bradley were never handed the reigns to do everything from top to bottom like JK has. So far, I see nothing but Germans coming in. It all starts at the top.

  1. John Miller
    commented on: April 3, 2012 at 12:28 p.m.
    Efrahim, the kids that cannot afford to play have such hurdles to overcome it is not funny. They get a chance to play but they are usually not exposed to the best environments and coaching until it is too late.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: April 3, 2012 at 4:37 p.m.
    Mario, if the usa scouting system is the best then why is Mexico getting to these great players first? Isnt Usa pursuing Germans in Germany that live their? I know for a fact that Academy players get a harder lolk from scouts. You are contradicting yourself knowing about how flawed the Academy system is.

  1. Philippe Fontanelli
    commented on: April 3, 2012 at 5:13 p.m.
    John Miller, FYI Arena lost Rossi who now plays for the Italian National Team my birth country. Rossi wanted to play for the US but Arena refused to start him let aline bring into camp. Now if you'd read Italian you'd have read it but it was also translated into English way back (in Soccer America). And Ponce wasn't lost recentlt (or by JK) it was at Bradley that overlooked him as some other Latino players. It is a well known subject that he didn't favor non anglo names nor do you. I guess you have problem with those Latin type names. Go get a life kid.

  1. Oz LatinAmerican
    commented on: April 3, 2012 at 9:38 p.m.
    In NY there are some many talented kids from all over Latin america playing soccer here, even the adults teams play so well here in their leagues. Some of these games are even better than the MLS games,you ask why is so difficult for soccer to evolve in the USA with a style that is entertaining? Even Swansea in England is catching up, oops! Swansea is not from England is from Wales! so it doesn't matter what the nationality is, it is the way you want to play, the trend is The Barcelona style! because is entertaining! Most American Coaches are ignorant about this! that's why they never see the talented kids to pick.

  1. Oz LatinAmerican
    commented on: April 3, 2012 at 10:01 p.m.
    And also most of the English coaches here are ignorant or don't want admit it that their style is death! I have seen it how they coach: OVER COACHING! yelling at every minute of play!

  1. R2 Dad
    commented on: April 4, 2012 at 12:59 a.m.
    Sorry, Oz, but the hispanic coaches I see here in CA-N are just as guilty of kick and run, especially at the early ages when good habits can be established (but often aren't). Winning always takes precedent vs development, and until that isn't the case we will continue to whine on boards about how sucky our developmental process is. Ajax and Barca know what to look for in young players but most everyone else does not.

  1. Efrahim Fernandez
    commented on: April 4, 2012 at 8:35 a.m.
    Gentlemen, I believe it is important for us to remember that different styles of play direct or indirect all are beautiful to watch when taught correctly. It should not be a cultural distinction but a game situation distinction. I enjoy a 30 or 40 yd pass played right to the boot of a streaking forward as much as watching barca weave thru opponents like they were comes.


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