Jimmy Maurer training for Universidad de Concepción.
Courtesy of Jimmy Maurer

American Exports: Maurer's debut in Chile bittersweet

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer joined an elite handful of Americans who have played in South American leagues when he made his debut for Universidad de Concepción in Chile’s top division last Friday, but he has mixed feelings about the occasion.

Maurer entered the field in the 24th minute, coming on when first-choice ‘keeper Cristian Brítez was sent off with the team already two down to Santiago Wanderers.

“It was a little rough,” Maurer told MLSsoccer.com over Skype on Monday. “Definitely not the ideal debut, but obviously exciting.”

His team went on to lose the game 5-2, but Maurer believes he did reasonably well in goal, especially after not having the opportunity to warm up properly.

“Personally, I thought I did alright,” he explained. “None of the goals were complete blunders from me.”

The former Atlanta Silverbacks goalkeeper made the bold decision to further his career in Chile in late January and has waited patiently on the Universidad de Concepción bench for his opportunity to get playing time.

“I’ve been working hard in training week in and week out to be ready for my chance, so I was excited to get in and to be able to play in a game,” he said, adding that he got a good reception when he entered the field.  

Off the field, Maurer now has his young family with him in Chile and is enjoying the experience, apart from the odd earthquake.

“They happen all the time here,” he mused. “They don’t happen too much in Atlanta.”

Maurer, 23, is likely to get the first start of his nascent career in Chile when Concepción host Iquique on Saturday, with the team desperate for points and struggling in 15th place in the league after nine games of the season.

Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America. E-mail him at tom.marshall.mex@gmail.com.

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