CARSON, Calif. – Jorge Villafaña’s Olympic dream lives on.
Chivas USA’s versatile 22-year-old left back was called up on Monday by US Under-23 head coach Caleb Porter for the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament, which begins March 22nd as the US take on Cuba at LP Park in Nashville, Tenn.
Villafaña, affectionately known as “Sueño” since winning the inaugural “Sueño MLS” competition in 2007, has become a staple on Porter’s squad since being called-up last December. Now, with qualifying just a week away, his latest dream is starting to come into focus.
“I’m very happy for the call-up, I was waiting for the decision that they would make and I’m excited for the start of this camp and ready for the qualifiers,” Villafaña told MLSsoccer.com on Monday. “It’s very important to keep working hard and to every day give 100 percent.”
Earning playing time is Villafaña number one priority with Porter’s squad, as the defender was an unused substitute during the team’s inspired 2-0 victory over Mexico’s U-23 team in February. He had a similar fate on Sunday, as he went unused again during the Rojiblancos’ 1-0 defeat to the Houston Dynamo.
Once Villafaña arrives in Nashville, Villafaña faces a hard-fought battle to unseat former Chivas teammate and current Montreal Impact defender Zarek Valentin, who went the distance at left back during the young Yanks’ victory over Mexico.
Always an industrious player on the field, Villafaña believes that his penchant for hard work will be crucial in helping him lock down a spot on Porter squad while lifting both the team—and himself –to London.
“I like to work hard on the field, especially as a defender, while also being able to give something going forward,” said Villafaña. “I’ve been showing that and that’s probably what they like about me.
“Our group is doing well right now; we have very good communication and good friendships on the team. We just hope that we can carry our winning streak onto the Olympics.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org