The Primera A season has come to an end for the young American prospects plying their trade in Mexico's second division. As none of the three players we've kept tabs on here are on teams that will participate in the Primera A playoffs, the only chance of game time the players have will be for their respective top flight clubs in Week 17 and/or Liguilla.
Here's a look at the players, their stats and where they may end up in the future.
Sonny Guadarrama, Morelia: 8 games, 7 starts, 636 minutes; 2 goals. Guadarrama got some playing time for Morelia in the first division, but that was under deposed coach David Patino. Since Luis Fernando Tena took over on March 22, Guadarrama has been exclusively with the reserves. Morelia, though, struggled mightily down the stretch and Guadarrama could still not find his way back to the top flight. In limited time with Morelia, Guadarrama struggled. He had a red card in 18 minutes of action this season.
Sammy Ochoa: 16 games, 16 starts; 1,403 minutes; 7 goals, 3 yellow cards, 1 red card. The former US Under-20 forward had a strong campaign for Tecos A. He scored seven goals and was a consistent starter, missing just one match during the season. Tecos' front office, tough, has a history of making poor decisions and whether Ochoa can crack his way onto the first division team remains to be seen. At best Ochoa has proven he can withstand the rigors of a campaign and has a scorer's touch to boot, and that alone should warrant some playing time.
Jesus Padilla: 14 games, 14 starts; 1,208 minutes; 3 goals, 1 yellow card. More Mexican than cactus but less talented than it too. Padilla has regressed this season, and likely would have done so had his true background not been revealed. Worse, Padilla was passed over for promotion a week ago. When Chivas boss Efrain Flores reached down to Tapatio for a forward, he chose Antonio Salazar instead of Padilla, and Salazar responded with a goal in a 4-0 win over Puebla.
There were at least five other American-born players who saw time in the second division this year. My most glaring omission was Texas native Marco Vidal of Indios. Vidal was a regular on the Juarez side and finished out the season with a 90-minute effort against Salamanca. Also, Noel Castillo is with Indios as well though he did not appear with them during this season. Edgar's younger brother saw time with Santos' second division side during this Clausura campaign before his departure. Additionally, Monterrey A has within its ranks Robert Adrian Debaca of New Mexico while Carlos Borja played some minutes with Tapatio.
It's difficult to keep tabs on youngsters in the second division but it's even more difficult to find out about them in the first place. But this trend of Americans in Mexico will likely only continue to grow as a growing number of young Americans head down to Mexico to try out for Mexican clubs. When this topic has come up among coaches, players and soccer officials in general, that youngsters doing so is not in question; it's just a question of how many go down there and how many more will continue to make their way onto First Division rosters. So maybe in the upcoming editions of these updates, I could coin this "Futbol mexicano. Hecho en los Estados Unidos."