BRIAN SCIARETTA - Thursday, July 7, 2011
With the Mexican Primera Division opening their season in just a little over two weeks, one of the players who will be hoping to make his first team debut this year is Tigres UANL midfielder Moises Orozco.
Orozco, 19, suffered some injuries last year but overall played very well for Tigres at the U-20 level where he was one of the best players on the team. Last month, however, he saw his talents rewarded and was invited to begin the preseason training with the club's first team. It was a surprise he was not expecting.
"To be honest I was not expecting to get called up to join the first team to preseason," Orozco told YA from Mexico. "I was told the last week of my summer vacation, but it was an awesome surprise."
Orozco has been with Tigres since June 13th when preseason began and so far he feels that it has been going well as he works on integrating into the team.
"It started off pretty hard with two or sometimes even three sessions a day with a lot of running, weight lifting, and other tough exercises, but I feel like my body is getting more used to it each day. We have not been playing much since we have been working on our fitness mainly, but I think the hardest part is always just adjusting yourself with the team and finding out the way they play."
Orozco is a native of Oxnard, Califorina and he is one of several American players that are working their way up the youth ranks at Tigres. So far he has joined by Victor Garza, Juan Ocegueda, Uvaldo Luna, and Daniel Navarro.
The Americans on the team are a tight knit group and Orozco is confident that each of them all have a least a chance of making their first team debut this season.
"I think we all have a really good chance in making our debut this season," Orozco discussed. "we just need to work really hard on our weaknesses and be ready for when one of our name gets called up."
On the international front, Orozco is coming off a difficult loss with the US U-20 team in March. After winning their games in group play, they lost 2-1 to Guatemala in Guatemala City and did not advance to the U-20 World Cup.
As a dual citizen with the US and Mexico, Orozco received his first callup to a national team at any level when he was called into the US U-20 team for the 2010 Dallas Cup. Since then, he had been part of the US U-20 team for most the last cycle and the loss to Guatemala is still difficult for him.
Despite that, he has taken positives from his experience with the US team and is adamant that he is a better player for the experience.
"It was a definitely the biggest loss of my soccer career so far," Orozco recalled. "But I feel that everyone that was part of that cycle took something positive from that tournament. I learned that in those types of competitions it is not about who has the most talent. It is about who has the heart to fight from the start of the game until the final whistle is blown."
Next up for Orozco in the international arena will be the 2012 Olympics and the United States will host the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in the spring.
Making the US team for the Olympics will be difficult as there are only 18 roster spots for the U-23 team that will also include three overage players. For Orozco to make the team, he will have to continue to climb the ranks at Tigres this season.
Orozco admits he has been thinking about the US Olympic team and it will give him another chance to represent the United States and bring success to the country's soccer program after the bitter defeat suffered by this year's U-20 team.
"I have been thinking about the Olympics for the future and it will be an honor to be able to represent the US once again," Orozco optimistically concluded. "But all we can do as players is just work hard for our clubs and be ready if the opportunity is given."