GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Former Chivas USA youth teamer Gustavo Ruelas admits his loan move from Santos Laguna to Jaguares has not turned out exactly how he wanted. But he is determined to keep working to achieve his end-of-season goals, one of which is to go to London with the US Olympic squad.
“It’s been a little bit complicated for the fact that my expectations were, and are, to get first division minutes,” the 20-year-old told MLSSoccer.com on Friday after he played 90 minutes for the Jaguares Under-20s in their 1-0 victory against Estudiantes Tecos' U-20s.
A tall striker who is good at holding up play and has an excellent first touch, Ruelas has scored goals throughout his youth career. In the Clausura 2011, he got 10 goals in 13 games for Santos’s U-20 team and has notched up 11 minutes in the Primera División for Santos. But competition is tough at Jaguares with Colombians Franco Arizala, Jackson Mártinez and Luis Gabriel Rey all seemingly ahead of him in the Chiapas club’s pecking order.
“The reason [I moved] was so I could get more minutes and experience and go back in a year and maybe be a starter [at Santos],” said Ruelas, who also spent an “amazing” few months training with Celtic in the Scottish Premier League back in late 2010.
The Southern California native, who was involved in the United States’ unsuccessful campaign to qualify for the U-20 World Cup in Colombia, is vowing to keep his head down and work. And he hopes the US coaches are still watching him.
“My goals [this season] were to get minutes, score my first first-division professional goal and make the Olympic squad,” Ruelas said.
But which Olympic squad: Mexico's or the US'?
“For the US," he said. "I want to go with the US. I’ll keep working, do my job and if they see me and want me, then I’ll be there, ready.”
Tom Marshall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter: @mexicoworldcupFollow @mexicoworldcup