GUADALAJARA, Mexico — US Under-20 national-team forward and UCLA star Eder Arreola has been training with Mexican Primera División side Jaguares de Chiapas since July 2 and is clearly making an impact.
“A couple days ago I met with the coach and he said he would like to sign me,” Arreola told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Wednesday. “But [he said] that it is also an option to sign in December.”
The 19-year-old Arreola has been part of the US youth setup since the U-15 level. He was part of Thomas Rongen’s Under-20 squad that came up short in their bid to qualify for the U-20 World Cup, but he did set up two goals in the US’ 2-0 victory over Panama in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship this past spring.
A fluent Spanish speaker, Arreola is enjoying his unofficial trial with the southern Mexican team.
"Mexico has been great so far,” reported the Los Angeles native, who says he’s a Club América fan and also enjoys watching his hometown LA Galaxy and Chivas USA. “I'm definitely having fun playing soccer every day with a first-division team in Mexico. It has been a great experience so far."
Arreola came down to Mexico through connections a family friend has with some Mexican teams, but stresses his status as an amateur is important for him as he enters his senior year at UCLA. Nevertheless, he has his sights set on Mexico after that.
“It would be the best of all worlds, to be able to return to UCLA for my senior year and have a great year individually and as a team, then return to Mexico."
Tom Marshall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter: @mexicoworldcup