Combine - Gienir Garcia
Andy Mead /

Combine: Cruz Azul starlet says MLS to overtake Mexico

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – His dad and older brother may have played in the Mexican top flight, but MLS Player Combine invitee Gienir Garcia is not interested in following in their footsteps.

Although he’s playing for the reserve side of one of Mexico’s biggest clubs, Cruz Azul’s Hidalgo side in the Mexican second division, Garcia believes that MLS is the place to be.

“I watch soccer here and I see how it’s growing, and sooner or later soccer here is going to pass Mexican soccer,” Garcia told “I like the rhythm of the game and the physicality here. It’s quicker and more dynamic [in MLS].”

Surprising words from the left back who featured for the Mexican Under-20 national team and whose family is entrenched in Mexican soccer.

His father, Gustavo, played with Toluca and his brother, Enrique, featured for Club América and San Luis. He has one other brother, Giovanni, who made the reserve teams for both Club América and Toluca.

Despite his relatives’ track record at the highest leve in Mexico, Garcia is not thinking twice about the decision to leave Cruz Azul’s second division side. He admits a falling out with the coach, opening the door for him to seek out other opportunities even with a year and a half left on his contract.

“I wasn’t going to be taken into account [on the reserve team],” Garcia said of his situation with the Cruz Azul’s second division affiliate. “The relationship between coach and player wasn’t good. I wanted to come and I wanted to be here. I needed a change.”

So while his compatriot Omar Bravo leaves MLS to return to Mexican soccer - and specifically Cruz Azul - Garcia has a dream that takes him in the other direction. With aunts and cousins in Elkhart, Indiana, he’s confident of a seamless transition should he be selected in the SuperDraft or Supplemental Draft.

“When they told me about this project [MLS Player Combine], I didn’t doubt it one bit,” Garcia said. “I was coming here and it was a great opportunity. I’ve always liked challenges and I’m planning on making it.”


Stay connected: Get access to breaking news, videos, and analysis from North America's best soccer reporters via "This Week in MLS" newsletter or using our FREE mobile app.