[AMERICANS ABROAD] Once upon a time, Mexican club Tigres was lauded as a model for developing or at least providing opportunities for Mexican-Americans. But the
news out of Monterrey in recent days is not good. Highly touted teenagers Juan Pablo Ocegueda and Victor Garza have left
the club. Once again, Jonathan Bornstein was placed on the Mexican draft list but was unable to find a new home, leaving him stuck on the Tigres' bench. And
Jose Torres, recently signed after seven seasons at Pachuca, finds himself sidelined for the start of the Liga MX's Torneo Clausura.
Garza, a winger out of Edinburg, Texas, debuted for Tigres last season in the Libertadores Cup, while Ocegueda, a candidate for the U.S. under-20 national team at left back, suited up for the same competition.
Garza, 20, and Ocegueda, only 19, were among a dozen Mexican-Americans brought to Tigres by Dutchman Dennis te Kloese, who served as Tigres' academy director and was more recently the Mexican national team coordinator before being named sporting president for both Chivas USA and Chivas de Guadalajara.
Of the five young Mexican-Americans promoted to the Tigres' first team for preseason training in the summer of 2011 -- Moises Orozco, Uvaldo Luna, Daniel Navarro, Garza and Ocegueda -- only Luna is still with the club -- and he's switched allegiances to play for Mexico's U-20s.
Navarro suffered a concussion last year and did not return for the 2012 Torneo Apertura. Orozco and cousin Emilio Orozco also left last season. Moises Orozco had tryouts with Toronto FC and the Seattle Sounders but did not sign with either MLS club, while Emilio Orozco played for the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers in the NASL.
The competition at Tigres -- with the most expensive first team in Mexico -- is stiff, as Bornstein, born to an American father and Mexican mother, has discovered. He played seven games in the 2011 Torneo Clausura after signing from Chivas USA but has played just two games -- both in the 2012 Torneo Apertura -- in three championships since then.
Things were looking up for Torres after his transfer from Pachuca. He had been starting in midfield alongside Mexican star Carlos Salcido in preseason but a thigh injury will sideline him for two weeks.