Chivas of Guadalajara has been an institution in Mexican soccer that has always boasted about giving opportunities to players in their youth academy. While they have accomplished this throughout many years, this Clausura 2017, Chivas has not done this more than many other teams.
Chivas does have a roster comprised of all Mexican players, but most are already well-established players in the Liga MX. Let us look at the starting 11 that Matias Almeyda presented in Chivas’ latest fixture against Veracruz. In net, Rodolfo Cota, a 29-year-old goalkeeper who came out of Pachuca’s academy and was bought by the ‘tapatios’ from Pachuca. Oswaldo Alanis just turned 28-years-old and is a product of Tecos’ youth Academy and was bought off Santos Laguna by the goats.
Carlos Salcido is a well-established player at 36-years-old, and is a product of the Chivas’ youth academy and has spent many years on the club, although he was bought off Tigres UANL to be back in Guadalajara. Edwin Hernandez, 30, is another product of Pachuca’s youth academy and was bought off Leon. Next is Jesus Sanchez, a product of Chivas’ youth academy, but he is 27-years-old. Moving along, Orbelin Pineda, a marvelous 20-year-old midfielder, but a product of Queretaro. Next is Jose Juan Vazquez, 29, a midfielder that surged from teams in the inferior divisions of Mexican soccer. Vazquez made his name with Leon and was bought off the ‘esmeraldas’.
Rodolfo Pizarro is another player who is very young at 23-years-old, but he is a product of Pachuca’s youth system, a reoccurring theme in this story. Alan Pulido, 26, a player that was bought for millions of dollars like Pizarro, is a product of Tigres UANL. Finally, we have the two lone youngsters in the starting 11 who are getting a chance by the institution to play consistently in Liga MX matches. Javier Lopez, 22, and Angel Zaldivar,23, both youth products of Guadalajara and both being given an opportunity in the top flight of Mexican soccer. A player who was missing this week for Matias Almeyda who is usually a consistent starter was, Jair Pereira. A 30-year-old defender who is a youth product of Tampico Madero and was bought off Cruz Azul.
Looking at other teams across the Liga MX, the Club Tijuana vs Santos Laguna match on March 17, had plenty of youth talent from both teams seen on the pitch. Club Tijuana, who is one of the teams that is criticized for using an excessive number of foreigners, had two young Mexican players on the pitch; 18-year-old defender, Carlos Vargas, a youth product of Tijuana was granted trust by Miguel Herrera and started the game. Tijuana’s goalkeeper, Gibran Lajud, 23, is a product of Cruz Azul, but has been with the border city side since 2014 and is getting a chance to start every game this Clausura.
Santos Laguna had three very young youth products on the pitch in Ulises Rivas, 21, Jorge Sanchez, 19, and Walter Sandoval, 21; all have been undeniable starters for Jose Manuel de la Torre this tournament. Gerardo Arteaga, 18, who has also been an undeniable starter this tournament for the ‘guerreros’, missed his first game of the Clausura 2017 with Jorge Villafana starting in his place.
Monterrey is also a team that is heavily criticized for using many foreigners, but a lone gem from its youth academy stands out in 20-year-old, Cesar Montes. The young defender has plenty of potential and Monterrey must be given credit for producing him and giving him play time. Finally, another match that presented a lot of youth talent was the ‘clasico capitalino’, the game between Pumas UNAM and Club America.
Pumas had several players who surged from its youth system on the pitch in Alfredo Saldivar, Josecarlos Van Rankin, Javier Cortez, Pablo Barrera, and Jesus Gallardo. Only two of these players are young in Van Rankin, 23, and Gallardo, 22. But Pumas did have five starters that surged from its youth academy in its starting 11 opposed to Chivas’ four, including Carlos Salcido.
Club America surprisingly has taken another route with its struggles this tournament and is starting to give youth talent an opportunity within the organization. Edson Alvarez, 19, and Diego Lainez, 16, did feature in Ricardo La Volpe’s starting 11 against Pumas UNAM. Gerson Torres, 19, was also set to start the match but could not because of certain regulations.
The ‘aguilas’ and several other teams are giving opportunities to young Mexican players, who are not yet established within the Liga MX. Chivas may boast about giving more opportunities to young Mexican players from its youth academy, but the facts state the goats are not doing much better than other teams in the league.