GUADALAJARA, Mexico — The Robbie Keane to LA Galaxy signing excited soccer-lovers north of the border this week. But Mexico, too, has been gripped by its highest-profile transfer of the summer: Fulham’s Carlos Salcido joining Tigres UANL on a season-long loan.
For 18-year-old American left back Juan Pablo Ocegueda, one of several US-born players in the Tigres youth system, the signing represents an excellent opportunity to learn from a highly experienced international.
“He's a player with a lot of playing time coming from Europe who has been in a couple World Cups,” Ocegueda told MLSSoccer.com on Thursday. “I consider him one of the best left backs coming from Mexico, very technical and very offensive.”
Ocegueda has made the left back spot in Tigres’ Under-20s team his own this season and has regularly trained with the first team. Future opportunities to train with them, and therefore Salcido, excite the young Riverside, Calif., native who recently played for the US U-18 national team in the Milk Cup.
“It will be a good experience to play on the same field as him, to learn from what he has to give the team [in order] to make myself better,” said Ocegueda. “He seems like a great person outside of soccer and a good role model in soccer.”
As Ocegueda matures and learns from the 31-year-old Mexican international, it is not inconceivable that the youngster could one day suit up for the Tigres first team if he keeps up the hard work.
Bornstein further down the pecking order?
For 26-year-old Jonathan Bornstein, the signing of another left-sided player makes an already tricky situation even more precarious.
Bornstein has not played this season for Tigres’ first team and has played twice for the Under-20s in a bid to keep up his fitness.
“Of course, you have to be playing to earn a spot on the US team, so obviously, a thought in the back of my mind is how long [to stay at Tigres without getting first-team minutes],” Bornstein told MLSsoccer.com earlier this month.
The Salcido signing certainly does not make it any easier for the Southern Californian.