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Gringo Report: Morelia's Nungaray hungry for first team

Morelia's Ernest Nungaray

Photo Credit: 
MexSport

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Morelia midfielder Ernest Nungaray is eyeing a Mexican first-division debut in the few games that remain this calendar year, one month after getting a two-minute introduction to first-team life against Motagua in the CONCACAF Champions League.

“I want to debut in 2011,” the 19-year-old Anaheim, Calif., native told MLSsoccer.com in Saturday. “That is what I am hoping for.”

Nungaray, who was raised in Tijuana, has moved from a striker/winger spot to central midfield in recent weeks and sees the central role as his future position.

“I’ve played four games as a central midfielder,” he said. “It feels weird, although I’m starting to gain confidence. I’m liking it and think I can do a good job.”

On the field playing for Morelia’s Under-20s, Nungaray dominates his new position like he has been there for years. Last weekend against the Atlante U-20s, he was busy switching the play, taking set pieces and shouldering the responsibility of being the main communicator at the heart of the Monarcas team.

As part of the US Under-19 national team that won the 2010 Milk Cup, Nungaray is keen for more action with the US and has thoroughly enjoyed his experience so far within the setup.

“It was all very positive,” said Nungaray of his international experience in Northern Ireland, which ended in a title for the US side. “They treated me very well. I thank them a lot and I’m here ready for anything with the national team.”

Nungaray enjoys keeping up-to-date with Major League Soccer and cites the New York Red Bulls as his favorite team. However, he currently has no plans to move north and is very happy with his life in Morelia fighting for his first-team spot.

“I’m very comfortable,” he said. “I don’t know why people say it’s dangerous, I’m happy to be in Morelia.”

Tom Marshall can be reached at tom.marshall.mex@gmail.com or via Twitter: @mexicoworldcup