BRIAN SCIARETTA - Tuesday, November 9, 2010
With the 2010 MLS season now complete for Chivas USA, left back Jonathan Bornstein is preparing to take his career southbound to the Mexican Primera Division where he will join Tigres de la UANL.
After finishing his NCAA career with UCLA, Bornstein was drafted by Chivas USA in the 2006 MLS SuperDaft and he has spent his entire professional career so far with the Los Angles based club. Now after five seasons, Bornstein will move on.
"My contract starts January 1," Bornstein told YA. "I am going to try to go down there a little bit before and just kind of experience everything from a personal standpoint. My personal goal is to earn some playing time and get on the field and earn a starting spot. Most of all contribute to the team the best I can so that we get some good results and rise to top of the table."
Bornstein, 25, is optimistic that he will be able to contribute right away for Tigres in the 2011 Clausura. He has been watching them in the current Apertura where they currently sit in third place in the Group One table with 23 points through 15 games.
"I have been watching them a bit," Bornstein assessed. "I haven't been in touch with the coach [Ricardo Ferretti] personally yet. I have been in touch with the president and some of the people within the organization. I think I will fit in down there pretty well."
Bornstein is confident that his versatility in his ability to play in many different types of systems will translate to success with Tigres.
"I think that throughout my career," the Torrance, California native discussed, "even in my youth development, any team I have ever went to I've felt that I've been able to see what the team is all about in terms of the style of play and what it took to succeed, and just kind of morph my game into the way that best fits the team. So I am hoping to be able to do that again and contribute whichever way I can."
The decision to leave MLS and Chivas USA came about during the summer when Bornstein was with the US national team in preparation for the World Cup. He said that Mexico wasn't necessarily his top choice when he was exploring his options but in the end, the offer from Tigres was the best.
"For me I just wanted to keep my options open," Bornstein recalled. "With the World Cup, I had a few offers from teams within Europe, Mexico, and South America. I just kind of welcomed them all."
"I based my decision on the best offer," he continued. "I felt that the best situation for me financially, soccer-wise, and all those aspects Mexico ended up being the best one. More specifically in the one I chose with Tigres in the city of Monterrey."
Once he gets to Mexico, Bornstein is expecting an increased level of play with more highly skilled players. He does, however, feel that MLS has helped him to make the jump.
"I do expect an increase in the level of play," Bornstein admitted. "I know the Mexican league is very technical. The guys are very good on the ball and they pass well. All the things you see from the Mexican national team you see within their league. So I am expecting that style of play. I do think that the MLS prepared me well. "
Bornstein will also make his transition to Mexico on the heels of the World Cup where he started at left back in the US national team's 1-0 victory over Algeria and their 2-1 extra time loss to Ghana. Bornstein earned positive reviews for his play in those games and he wants to use that experience moving forward.
"I think more than anything it showed me exactly what it takes to compete at the very highest level," Bornstein said of the World Cup. "I want to take what I learned from those games on a personal level and the amount of success that we had, which I wish we had more, and carry it over to Mexico and compete at that level day in and day out. Hopefully it will make me a better player in the long run and I'll get more opportunities to have experiences like I did at the World Cup."
Bornstein is also likely to continue to be a part of the US national team again this cycle where he is expected to compete with Heath Pearce and possibly Eric Lichaj for the starting left back spot.
For the national team, Bornstein will once again be playing under head coach Bob Bradley this cycle. Bradley was Bornstein's first coach at Chivas USA and Bradley was confident in using Bornstein throughout most of the previous cycle with the US team.
Bornstein is excited that the USSF extended Bradley's contract and he looks forward to working with him again in the future.
"When I heard [Bradley] was going to be brought on for another four years, I was happy about that," Bornstein said of the US head man. "I thought he did an extremely good job in the prior cycle in finding a team that was ready to play in the World Cup. I thought he made a lot of good decisions and just a lot of positive aspects at the national team came about because of him being hired."
"So I would expect a lot more positive things from the US program with him being hired for another four years," he continued. "I haven't really gotten back into the swing of things with the national team after the World Cup so much but I am looking forward to what is in front of us."
As for what is exactly in front of the US team, Bornstein sees some serious challenges that the team faces. Most notably, the team showed a propensity for giving up early goals at the World Cup and Bornstein feels increased preparation for games in the future will be key.
"We did win our group but we were also down a lot in the games so I think that is a big area that we need to fix," Bornstein pointed out. "We need to come out in games and get a lead instead of going down a goal or two goals and having to come back every time. As players we need to take it upon ourselves to come out more prepared. There are a lot of big games coming up that we have to prove ourselves all over again."
As Bornstein gets set to make a transition in the coming year, he knows that 2011 will be an important year for him as he looks to establish himself at Tigres and lead the US national team at the Gold Cup. He also insists that he has not yet fulfilled his potential but next year will go a long way in terms of moving forward his personal development.
"I don't think that I am there yet," Bornstein concluded. "I think that the move to Mexico is a very good one for me in terms of developing more skills and more confidence in becoming the player that I want to be. And just experiencing new things and experiencing a new challenge and having to overcome more obstacles. I think with all those things, when you add them up, will make me become a better player and a better person all together."