Credit: The Guardian / YouTube
“I’m the proudest American but you can’t forget about where you came from.”
For several years, American soccer players with Mexican roots have crossed the border to Mexico for a chance to play professionally. In 2006, New Mexico-born Edgar Castillo joined Santos Laguna and Texas-born Jose “El Gringo” Torres joined Pachuca, each establishing solid careers in Liga MX. Both Castillo and Torres have represented the United States at the international level — Castillo briefly played for Mexico before fully committing to the Stars & Stripes.
Since then, other Mexican-American players have made their way to Liga MX, from high-profile names such as Omar Gonzalez to youngsters looking to work their way up from youth teams into the league’s first division.
A new mini-doc by The Guardian, “America’s Soccer Migrants: The U.S. Footballers Crossing Mexico’s Border,” tells the stories of these migrantes who have ties to both the United States and Mexico. Gonzalez, who famously announced his move from the L.A. Galaxy to Pachuca in a Darth Vader costume, speaks about adapting to life in Mexico. Several youth players, including Jonathan Navarro and Carlos Flores, reveal what it’s like when you’re fighting for a spot with thousands of other youngsters. Jared Borgetti, a retired Mexican fútbol star, explains why Liga MX remains attractive over the United States’ growing domestic league, Major League Soccer. And Alejandro Zendejas, who was born in Mexico but grew up in El Paso, Texas, describes why he made the choice to leave MLS and sign with Chivas of Guadalajara, a team known for its tradition of fielding only Mexican players.
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