BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, April 2, 2012
As the Colombian Primera season is now well underway, American midfielder Juan Sebastian Botero is hoping for a career rebirth with Cucuta Deportivo after being away from the game since 2009.
Over the winter, Botero signed a one year contract with Cucuta Deportivo after last playing for Colombian club, Once Caldas in 2009.
"Since I left Once Caldas I have not played until now," Botero told YA. "Too many clubs were having financial problems and the government reduced the number of players any club could have. Many players were left without contracts and I was one of them."
Botero, 25, is excited to have the chance to get his career back on track with Cucuta Deportivo after being away from the game. The club, however, is off to a rocky start. After 10 games, they sit in 17th place in the 18 team league with just seven points.
Botero has been seeing regular minutes with the club recently and he remains optimistic that the club will avoid relegation and can finish mid table.
"My main goal is to [establish] my career as a professional soccer player, play the best I can and help my team at the best of my ability," Botero said. "I think avoid relegation is a big challenge but the biggest challenge now is to get a place in the final 8. I think we still can make it; we have a great coach and excellent players."
Botero was born on the 4th of July, 1986 in Ames, Iowa. He returned to Colombia with his family before his first birthday and that is where he developed as a soccer player.
At Cucuta Deportivo he is a versatile player that can play anywhere across the midfield but he feels most comfortable when he has the freedom to move forward.
"I can play in any of those positions," Botero explained. "It depends on the game, the other players in your team and the team you are facing. I do enjoy having the freedom to attack when I feel I can do it."
Botero has had experience in the United States. In 2007 he was signed by MLS club FC Dallas. During his year at the club he did not make a first team appearance and returned to the Colombian Primera the following year.
Despite that, Botero enjoyed the experience in MLS and would be open to giving it another chance in the future.
"I did not have the opportunity to play in the first team," Botero recalled. "I am an easy going person and I am usually happy anywhere I am. My father always told me to have the best attitude. He says that everything happens for the best. But I did enjoyed Dallas and the company of most of my team mates and friends."
"I love playing soccer and I would like to play in any team that interested in having me," Botero stated. "Of course the MLS is a great option. The USA is a great place to live. On the other hand, we also have great teams and great cities to live here in Colombia."
While Botero's primary goal right now is to get his career settled after years away from the game, he does dream of a return to international soccer. He was born in the United States but holds dual citizenship with Colombia.
In fact, when he was a youth player he played for the Colombian U-17 national team in World Cup qualifiers. Should he ever reestablish himself as a top tier professional he would be open to the idea of using his one-time switch to play for the United States.
"Any kid who plays soccer, or any sport, dreams about playing for the national team," Botero said of his international dreams. "I had the great chance to play for the U17 Colombian national team and it is one of the most important experiences I have ever had. But I would also love to play for USA national team if I ever have a chance to do it."