Gringo Report: Corona thrilled by US U-23 call-up

Joe Corona

Photo Credit: 
MexSport

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Apparently Joe Benny Corona wasn't bluffing when he told MLSsoccer.com in early October that the door to the US national team was still open.

The Club Tijuana forward on Wednesday was called by Caleb Porter into US Under-23 camp in Germany starting next week and says he is raring to go.

“I'm happy,” Corona told MLSsoccer.com over the phone soon after the squad was announced. “I'm looking forward to it.”

Corona knew the call was likely after his agent got word from US Soccer, and the 21-year-old winger/attacking midfielder was eager to take the chance.

“It'll be my first trip to Europe,” admitted Corona. “Hopefully it won't be my last.”

Corona says to play at the Olympics in London next year is his top short-term target.

“It would be something huge,” he said. “It's my next goal right now. It's something I've always dreamed of and I really want to go to London.”

However, things haven't been going so smoothly recently for Corona at club level. He has been finding playing time hard to come by with Tijuana and last started a game on Sept. 18. Last weekend against San Luis, Corona didn't make the bench.

“It was a tactical decision,” lamented Corona. “The coaches asked me to sit out because of how the rival was playing.”

Born in Los Angeles but raised in both Tijuana and San Diego, Corona played 10 minutes in the Mexico Under-22 team's friendly against Chile on Sept. 7, but missed the cut for the Pan American Games squad.

Corona made a name for himself by playing an influential role in getting Tijuana promoted to Mexico's first division and grabbed headlines when he scored the team's first goal in the top flight.

He is the only American player in Latin America to get a call-up to the United States U-23 team.

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