Joe Corona

The creative midfielder dishes on his former teammates at Tijuana and his surprise best friend in the game.

Coronajoe_isi_usavscanada03242012025_qlead John Dorton/isiphotos.com

WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF SOCCER?

I used to live in this place called La Gloria, just outside of Tijuana, and that’s where I first started playing soccer. I was 6 years old. My mom and this other lady started a team, and that’s how I started getting involved in soccer. Dirt field. It was a good time.

WHO WAS YOUR SOCCER HERO GROWING UP?

I grew up watching Ronaldinho. Before that, Zidane, because he’s a 10. I always watched him play.

DESCRIBE YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE SUITING UP FOR THE U.S.

It was an honor to be able to represent the U.S. My first appearance was with the U-23s. It was a good experience. I try to enjoy it, try to take advantage of it. It was a great feeling.

WHAT IS THE QUALITY YOU MOST ADMIRE IN A SOCCER PLAYER?

I’m very technical, so that would be mine.

WHAT IS THE QUALITY YOU MOST DISLIKE IN AN OPPONENT?

Dirtiness. There’s some dirty players out there.

WHAT IS THE KEY TO YOUR SOCCER SUCCESS?

The belief that I’ve always had since I was young: keep dreaming. And practice. The way you practice is the way you play.

WHAT IS ONE SOCCER SKILL YOU WANT TO IMPROVE?

Speed and strength.

WHO HAS HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR DEVELOPMENT?

My family, my parents. They always exported me to practices and games. I never needed anything because they would always try to give it to me. They’ve always been there, so I think I owe my success in a way and thank them. I thank God for everything, for having the privilege to be here.

WHO IS YOUR CLOSEST FRIEND IN THE GAME?

The ball.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST SOCCER ACHIEVEMENT?

Being promoted to first division. That was my greatest achievement as a professional player. Being called up to the national team was very special to me.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST SOCCER DISAPPOINTMENT?

Not qualifying for the Olympics.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON YOU LEARNED FROM THE GAME?

Stay humble. That mentality has given us a lot of success this season. We don’t think we’re the best. We try to stay humble, and that’s very important. I think it happened with the U-23s qualifying. We thought we were the best team out there and you never know. You can get embarrassed by any team, so that’s the lesson I’ve learned.

WHO ARE THE MOST TALENTED TEAMMATES YOU HAVE PLAYED ALONGSIDE?

[Landon] Donovan and [Clint] Dempsey. Here at the club, [Edgar] Castillo. A lot of people here have potential, and you can learn a lot of things. There’s a lot of talent in Xolos, and you gotta exploit all of that.

WHO ARE THE TOUGHEST OPPONENTS YOU HAVE LINED UP AGAINST?

When we lined up against Mexico, [Andres] Guardado. When I was in the second division we lined up against Cuauhtemoc Blanco. Even though he's ready to retire, he’s a very smart player, very technical. There’s a lot of good players out there, especially here in Mexico.

IF YOU WEREN'T A PROFESSIONAL SOCCER PLAYER, WHAT WOULD YOU DO FOR A LIVING?

I have no idea. When I was growing up I dreamed of playing soccer and never saw myself doing something else. I’d be working in the States. Before joining Xolos, I was going to San Diego State, so I’d probably be in my career now.

WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE DEFINITION OF SUCCESS IN THE GAME?

Hard work, always believing in God, being close to family, always trying to give it your all. I think that everyone who plays soccer will always have an opportunity if they look for it, but it depends on whether you take that opportunity.

Coronajoe Read His ASN Profile
AmericanSoccerNow.