GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Club Tijuana's Joe Benny Corona was voted best newcomer to Mexico's first division last season by a panel made up of players, coaches, journalists and Mexican federation officials at the biannual Balón de Oro awards ceremony in Mexico City on Monday.
The 21-year-old, Los Angeles-born forward received more votes than Atlante's Alfonso Luna, Jaguares' Armando Zamorano and Héctor Herrera of Pachuca, who made up the short list for the category, and was delighted to take home the award.
“I'm very happy, I thank God for these good things he has given me in such a short time and it's motivating to know that great things can be achieved when there is determination, dedication and humility,” Corona told the Club Tijuana website from the US Under-23 camp in Carson, Calif.
Corona's most memorable moment last season came when he scored Club Tijuana's first goal in Mexico's top division against Morelia in the first round of matches back in July, but he also played more than 700 minutes with the first team and cemented his status as a crowd favorite.
“There are talents that want to fulfill a dream like our player has just achieved and it is very gratifying to receive this prize in his name,” Club Tijuana sporting director Ignacio Palou said after the ceremony.
Corona will not participate in the Xolos game against Chivas this Saturday, as he will be in Costa Rica with the US U-23 pre-Olympic squad.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America. He can be reached via email@example.com.