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In Need of a Win, Sanchez Returns to San Diego

Before his second match in charge of the Mexican national team, Hugo Sanchez and others spoke with Mark Ziegler of the San Diego Union-Tribune about the Tri legend's storied career, which included a pit stop in the American city where his team will play Venezuela on Wednesday.

Indeed, prior to becoming the most famous export in Mexican history, Sanchez played two seasons (1979-1980) with the San Diego Sockers of the North American Soccer league-while still playing for UNAM in the fall, winter, and spring. Sanchez was just 20 years old at the time, and his teammates recall the fearlessness with which the diminutive Mexican competed and scored goals-acrobatic goals-in a league filled with such stars as Franz Beckenbauer and Johan Cruyff. The Sockers made it to the NASL semifinals in both years that Sanchez played. In 1981, Sanchez left the continent for Spain, where he signed with Atletico Madrid. Sanchez would later go on to become one of the greatest goalscorers in the history of Spanish giant Real Madrid.

The latest challenge for the man still revered by most Mexican fans is to win them over now as coach. A 2-0 loss against the United States was hardly an ideal start, but his long-term goal is clear: "I want to be the best coach in the world and win the World Cup with Mexico," he says. Sanchez gets his second chance in San Diego Wednesday night against a tricky Venezuela side-host of the Copa America tournament Mexico will be attending this summer-that could no longer be considered the whipping boy of South America.

Read the whole story at San Diego Union-Tribune »

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