Club Deportivo Chivas USA has spiced up their roster with some Mexican flavor, as the club officially unveiled eight new members on Thursday at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The former CD Guadalajara men will join a host of players brought in by head coach Thomas Rongen in the MLS Expansion Draft, the SuperDraft, the Supplemental Draft and acquired via other means.
Leading the crop is Guadalajara veteran Ramón Ramírez. The former Mexican national team player is one of the most well-known and successful players in Mexican soccer history, having played for the Tricolores in two World Cups (1994 and 1998). A fan favorite at Chivas, Ramirez helped the club to a Mexican league title in the Verano 1997 tournament.
Also a member of the Verano 1997 championship team was goalkeeper Martin Zúñiga, who accompanies Ramírez to CD Chivas USA. Another former Mexican national team veteran, Zúñiga debuted in the Mexican first division in 1993 with Tigres. He debuted at CD Guadalajara in 1996.
Alfonso Loera rounds out the triumvirate of Senior Internationals joining CD Chivas USA on Thursday. A defender with good size (6'1", 175 lbs.), Loera is an up-and-coming talent who played 38 matches with the Chivas senior team before moving his new Los Angeles-based club.
Others included in the young faction are defender Armando Begines, midfielders Hector Cuadros and Francisco Mendoza, and forwards Alonso Sandoval and Isaac Romo. Those five Mexican-born players will occupy five youth international positions on the club's roster.
Begines is a 22-year-old defender and a native of Guadalajara. He has been part of the Chivas youth system since 1999 and appeared in 17 matches for the club's 'Primera A' team during the Apertura 2004 season.
Cuadros, who is six days younger than Begines and is also a Guadalajara native, has been a member of the Primera A team since the Apertura 2003 competition. Nineteen-year-old Mendoza is a versatile talent who has been in the Chivas system since 2001. His last match as a Club Guadalajara player was in the final of the Copa Lowes in Jan. 2005, in Monterrey Park, Calif.
Sandoval is a midfielder/forward who has scored four goals in 25 matches for the Chivas first team since debuting in the Apertura 2002 tournament. Sandoval was a major part of the Mexican U-23 national team in the qualifying process for the Athens 2004 Olympics, including Mexico's 4-0 win over the United States that forced the Americans out of the Games. Lanky striker Romo (6'2", 170 lbs.) was the leading goalscorer for Chivas La Piedad in the Apertura 2004 tournament with nine goals. He has also played in five games for the senior team, registering two goals.
After being presented to the media on Thursday, CD Chivas USA's expanded squad will continue their preseason training with two-a-days for the rest of the week. The club will square off with UCLA Saturday afternoon.
Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.