BRIAN SCIARETTA - Wednesday, July 11, 2012
2011 was a year of peaks and valleys for American midfielder Diego Chavarri but this year he is looking to return to health with his new club, Cobresol, and restart his career.
In the beginning of the 2011 season in Peru's Primera Division, Chavarri was beginning to break out as a winger with Sporting Cristal. In March he was considered one of the top rising young talents in the league after two spectacular goals against Alianza Lima and Unión Comercio. At the time Eredivisie club Vitesse was actively scouting him for a transfer.
Shortly after those memorable goals, disaster struck for Chavarri in a game against Cienciano on March 20, 2011 when he was on the wrong end of a harsh tackle and had to be removed from the game in the first half. That injury would start a downward spiral of rushed comebacks, poor medical treaments, and reinjures.
At the end of the season he parted ways with Sporting Cristal and continued to rehab during the offseason. During that the winter he was invited to join a US U-23 camp but was not healthy enough yet to participate. Chavarri, who was born in New York City but raised in Peru, has never represented the United States at any level but that is something he insists is a dream for him.
As he neared the long end of his long road to recovery in the spring, Chavarri signed with struggling Peruvian Primera club Cobresol for the 2012 season. Shortly into the new season he was injured yet again in just his second game for his new club against Real Atlético Garcilaso on April 15.
Chavarri, 23, returned to full health on May 27 and since then he has been playing very well even with the team continuing to struggle in last place.
"It was kind of difficult for me because of the injury," Chavarri told YA about his past year. "But everything got better and now I'm okay. I'm feeling better and playing again. It was hard for me to return in shape again, but soccer is what I like, and what makes me happy."
While Chavarri loves the sport of soccer, life at Cobresol is not going well on and off the field. The team draws poorly and at the bottom of the standings they currently sit 10 points away from the second to last place team. Worse yet, the team is struggling to pay its players. Chavarri himself has not been paid in a long time and the club has approached players about taking further reductions in their non-existant salaries.
"Things here are really hard, they owe us three months, and it could go to four [months] without getting paid," Chavarri explained. "I really don't know if the team can survive in first division, we are doing our best, but I really don't know. They are looking for new players to bring here, but money is the problem. We are having a reduction on our salary, things are not good."
The problems on and off the field with Cobresol have not stopped Chavarri from establishing himself once again as a top attacker in the Peruvian league. In addition to his usual spot on the wings, he is also playing centrally in the number 10 role.
"I'm playing in the midfield in the center behind the forward - like a 10," Chavarri said of his role with Cobresol. "My position is midfield but I don't have any problem to play on the wings. And that's what I like to do, to shoot when I can."
On June 27 in a game against Juan Aurich, Chavarri scored his first goal since returning from injury when he drew a penalty after an explosive move in the box. He elected to take the penalty himself and buried it with ease.
In the very next game, Chavarri scored another amazing goal against Melgar when he collected the ball in midfield and hit a hard and swerving shot from over 30 yards into the top corner of the net. The shot was unstoppable and it was one of the best goals of the season in the Peruvian league.
For Chavarri, it is his hope that this run of good play can help earn him a contract for a team where he can get paid and compete to win on the field. For him an ideal situation would be in MLS, elsewhere in South America, or even a top team in Peru. He is open to pretty much anything but for now he's focused on playing well at Cobresol to attract interest.
"I'm having good games, and scoring goals," Chavarri said. "My goal obviously is get a good contract by the end of the year, or maybe before. My contract here finishes in December, but I can go to another club before then, and that's what I'm looking for."