CARSON, Calif. — It’s been a whirlwind few months for the newest member of Chivas USA, Colombian forward José Erik Correa.
After taking Colombia’s Liga Postobón by storm — tallying six goals in 12 matches for Boyacá Chicó — and earning a place in the national team's domestic training camp, Correa arrived in Los Angeles on Friday. It was his first-ever trip to California and he got straight to business. With two training now sessions under his belt, he's eager to make an impact with the Rojiblancos.
“I’m very happy to come over here, this is a great opportunity,” Correa told reporters on Tuesday. “As a player in my country, to be taken to a different country is one of the best things that has happened in my life. I’ve grown a lot [as a player] recently, thank God that they were able to see that evolution in [my game] or I wouldn’t be here right now. That’s one of the things that I admire about myself, every day I want to be a better player.
“I want to score a lot of goals,” Correa added. “That’s the main characteristic of a forward. I want to do things as best as I can so that the team and staff is happy with me and the club continues to improve in the league.”
In his first practice with the first team after training alongside the reserves on Monday, Correa showcased his predatory instincts. The 19-year-old participated in finishing drills and played alongside fellow Colombian Juan Pablo Ángel during a brief intra-squad scrimmage — during which he used his 6-foot-1, 190-pound frame to get into dangerous positions on the field.
“He’s certainly an interesting young player with a good build, good work rate and good attitude so far,” head coach Robin Fraser said. “He’s a hard worker, he’s got good pace and can hold up the ball up, he’s a great athlete … obviously, we need to get him integrated and see how he fits in and where he fits in.”
Not looking to delay his integration any longer, Correa admits that he has begun watching the league for some time and reached out to a pair of Colombians from FC Dallas. While his club was in Colorado taking on the Rapids, Correa was at the Home Depot Center to speak with Fabián Castillo and David Ferreira after FCD’s 1-1 draw with LA Galaxy last week.
Correa hopes to make his league debut on Friday as the Rojiblancos look for their first victory at home against the Chicago Fire (11 pm ET, ESPN Deportes). Fraser left the door open on Tuesday to Correa playing a role against Chicago, but after a whirlwind few months, the striker is taking life one day at a time.
“I’m trying to take it easy and be calm so I don’t lose my head, it could get away from it, but I try to be humble," he said. "I’m just trying to be patient and very humble so that I can move forward.
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com.