Mexico World Cup Qualifiers: How El Tri's Future Is Tied to Liga MX

Karla Villegas Gama@karlitsvFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2013

Javier Hernández played for Guadalajara before leaving to Manchester United. Photo: Mexsport
Javier Hernández played for Guadalajara before leaving to Manchester United. Photo: Mexsport

Mexico has slowly exported some of its finest footballers to European clubs, giving El Tri more experienced members. However, the national team is composed mostly of players from the Liga MX. These two situations make a significant impact on the squad.

Some players were already role models and key figures in their teams before leaving to Europe. Their levels and consistency set them as cornerstones.

Javier Hernández was a promising striker prior to his transfer to Manchester United. In 2010, Chicharito was the joint leader in the goal-scoring table of Torneo Bicentenario 2010.

Guillermo Ochoa was the undisputed starter for Club América and now plays for Ajaccio in the French Ligue 1. He even played for El Tri in several major competitions despite his young age. He debuted with Mexico at age 19.

Others had bright performances with the U-17, U-20 and U-23 squads. These new generations have given Mexico a breath of fresh air.

From 2005 to 2012, these teams' results have been overwhelming: two U-17 world championships, one CONCACAF pre-Olymic championship, an Olympic gold medal and a U-20 World Cup third place.

The youngsters are the living proof that the clubs' youth systems are better than ever. Héctor Moreno, Javier Aquino and Diego Reyes are three of them.

Liga MX is the strongest league in CONCACAF according to the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS), while eight Mexican teams lead the Central and North America‘s Club of the 21st Century list.

The competition is tougher and the level is better, which should feed El Tri with more prepared and experienced members from the local league than its confederation rivals.

Little by little, Mexican footballers are having more opportunities to leave the country to earn a spot in European clubs. The better they play locally, the bigger their chances to emigrate.

Playing abroad puts them in a scenario that pushes them to give their best and to get used to a different pace of game and to a variety of strategies hardly ever practiced in the Liga MX.

We have seen constant growth in the United States. It has to do with not only the preparation kids get at schools and training camps, but also with the fact that many of its players have signed with international clubs, and they actually get to play there.

Take, for instance, Herculez Gomez. The 30-year-old striker came into the scene after becoming a major force with Puebla and lately with his current squad, Santos Laguna.

Jozy Altidore is another good example of success. At age 23, he is already a regular with AZ Alkmaar. In two seasons with the Dutch club, he has appeared 81 times and score 39 goals.

The thing with Mexico is that despite sending players to European clubs, some of them do not play on a regular basis, which hurts their continuity and game.

It is also necessary that the Liga MX raises its level on and off the pitch so that those who stay have better opportunities to explode their talent, and that the ones that leave can make it to bigger teams and that they have what it takes to play constantly.

There is a bright future for El Tri in the upcoming years. The Hexagonal has not been a walk in the park, but the capacity of the current roster is enough to turn it around.

Most of the success the team has sought throughout the years is closer than ever and it starts right at home.


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