BRIAN SCIARETTA - Thursday, September 1, 2011
With the 2011/12 Mexican Apertura season underway one American who is on the very of making his professional debut is Morelia midfielder Ernest Nungaray.
Nungaray, 20, has already made the bench for the Morelia in the CONCACAF Champions League twice in the past month but he is confident his professional debut is coming soon in the Primera Division.
"I expect to debut this season, remain with the main squad, and get some minutes," Nungaray told YA. I hope to do this. I feel this will be a good year for me."
Nungaray also made the bench two separate times towards the end of the last season but remained as an unused substitute as the club ended up finishing in second place in the Clausura.
This year Nungaray was able to carry that momentum into preseason where he was invited by Morelia head coach Tomas Boy to join the first team for preseason. The extended first team training has put in now even closer to being an important part of the team.
"I got to join the main squad for preseason training," Nungaray explained. "This is a great achievement and I did well. The truth is that it was very difficult [but it] felt phenomenal. It is much different than training with the other squad but I did very well, thank God. I feel that I am close to debuting this season."
Nungaray has been primarily used by Morelia on the left wing and he is active moving forward. Like many young players who develop their game in Mexico, he is particularly skillful on the ball and likes to take defenders on with a dribble.
Nungaray's development has seen him in recent years attract interest from youth national teams from both the United States and Mexico.
Last year, Nungaray was part of the US U-20 national team that won the 2010 Milk Cup. Just a few weeks later, he played with the Mexican U-20 team in a tournament in South America.
Last March, Nungaray almost played for the US again when he was named to the initial provisional roster for the US U-20 World Cup qualifying team. He did not make the final team, however.
Despite the history of playing for each national team, Nungaray is proud to say that the US is his first choice moving forward.
"I got to join the national team and it's something that every player wants," Nungaray stated. "I would love to return to the US National Team. I feel that at the moment it would be my first choice. I would be elated to join the national team [again]."
Returning to international play with the United States is something that motivates Nungaray in his progress at Morelia. If he begins to earn minutes this season, he is optimistic he will get another chance as he is eligible for the U-23 team next year that will attempt to qualify for the Olympics in March.
"Earning minutes will be vital for me to earn another call-up to the national team," Nungaray concluded. "This would be another big step for my career to return to the national team. I will always be at the service of the national team."