An American at Necaxa: Sonny Guadarrama's Trail
Jon Arnold talks to the Texas-born midfielder who hopes to help Necaxa earn a promotion to Liga MX. Elsewhere, Jerry Palacios (pictured with Robbie Rogers) forgets his passport in a cab.
BY Jon Arnold PostedIn all likelihood, four Liga MX teams will regularly deploy Americans during the 2013 Apertura and 2014 Clausura. Sonny Guadarrama wants to take that total higher next season by getting his new club, Necaxa, promoted. “I think they’ve invested in good players here. There’s actually a good chance of doing that if the team performs well. I think that would be my immediate goal is to try and help Necaxa move up to first division,” he told ASN in a phone interview. “Me personally, that would help just getting back to a team that’s in first division and hopefully getting enough playing time, which has been a struggle since I got to Mexico, getting first team minutes playing.” The Austin, Texas native has tried to make the most of the time he’s earned, posting one of the best goals per minute numbers last season with Mérida in the Ascenso, Mexico’s second division. Not only did he score with some regularity, he scored when it mattered. “I was on loan with Mérida for the past year and we had played against Necaxa twice, one home one away, and thankfully I got to score in each one of those games, so that probably helped,” he said. It was enough to inspire the Rayos (Lightning Bolts) to grab the Mexican-American on a yearlong loan with the option to buy. It’s far too early to speculate on if he’ll be making Aguascalientes his permanent home after this year, but Guadarrama is off to a good start. He’s scored some phenomenal goals in preseason including a brace against Santos, the team that signed him after one year at Campbell University. Guadarrama started out strong last year as well, with goals in the first five matches across all competitions. But a few games without scoring saw playing time slip away. That’s because, he says, most teams bring in foreign players on big contracts to bolster their attack, making it tougher for players like him to see time. His stature probably doesn’t help either. Listed at five-foot-five, Guadarrama is sure some coaches underestimate his abilities. Growing up in the U.S. and playing a season at Campbell actually helped him cope. “I got used to playing against bigger kids and in college it was definitely the same, and they were even bigger in college,” he said. “For me, it’s not really a problem because I’ve learned how to play against taller guys, and I would say one of my strengths is being quick, so I use my quickness to try and help me against the taller guys.” Guadarrama isn’t the only American hoping to boost Necaxa into the top division. Ventura Alvarado, a center back born in Phoenix who was with Club América last year, will also sport the red-and-white stripes this season after joining the club on loan. They hang out and chat in English when they get the chance. “It’s good to have someone from the States on the team,” Guadarrama said. The road map is there for the 26-year-old midfielder—and his 20-year-old pal—but it’s an arduous route. Get first team minutes, get promoted, and get spotted. Then? “If any national team coach wants to give me a shot, I’ll be ready,” Guadarrama says. A long shot now? Perhaps. But he’s proved himself against taller competition before.
July 03, 2013
July 03, 2013