BRIAN SCIARETTA - Wednesday, October 26, 2011
After competing this summer with the US U-18 team at the Milk Cup, midfielder Jose Villarreal is trying to land a professional contract in Europe.
Villarreal, 18, went to Europe in September for a series of trials that began with Borussia Dortmund followed by Westerlo in Belgium and now currently Brondby in Denmark.
"I'm looking getting a contract here," Villarreal told YA from Denmark. "If it doesn't work out, I have a couple of options back home but the soccer here in Europe is the best."
So far, each of the three clubs Villarreal has trialed at have been very different from each other. When he arrived in Germany to trial with Dortmund it was his first experience of European soccer and it was a learning experience.
"Dortmund is one of the biggest clubs in Germany and throughout Europe," Villarreal explained. "It was difficult. It was my first time in Europe and it was difficult to adapt to the style of soccer. But it was a good experience as far as getting an experience of what it's like in Europe. It was good. I like the way they work."
Following the trial in Germany, Villarreal moved onto Westerlo in Belgium where he was given time in a reserve team game.
In the game, Villarreal earned a start and scored the match winner. So far on his trip to Europe, his play at Westerlo has been the most satisfying.
"Westerlo is not a big club," Villarreal discussed. "It's a different style of soccer - way more running and way more fitness. I was with the reserves and I had my best performance. I played 85 minutes and I scored the winning goal."
Now at Brondby, Villarreal is now at Brondby and he is hoping to continue to impress to give himself more options as to where he may want to begin his professional career.
"It's great," Villarreal said of Brondby. "It's a big club here in Denmark. It's a good experience for me. It's exciting."
Villarreal was born in Inglewood, California and is the son of a Mexican-born father and a mother who was born in the United States but raised in Mexico. He developed his game in Southern California with the South Bay Force Soccer Club and eventually earned his way onto US youth national teams.
As a dual citizen, Villarreal was eligible for both the US and Mexico but US Soccer was the first to approach him. The decision was easy for Villarreal at that point and he is excited to play for the United States.
"It wasn't tough," Villarreal said of the decision to play for the US over Mexico. "It was eventually going to come up. But I'm happy with the US. We can start doing better and I'm pretty sure we're going to take out Mexico pretty soon."
Villarreal is an attacking minded midfielder that prefers to play centrally behind the forward but he can also play on either wing.
After succeeding with the US U-18 team, he is looking forward to making the transition to the US U-20's who will begin their 2013 cycle next month in with a camp in Germany. The team recently hired Tab Ramos as its new head coach and Villarreal is excited to get to work under the former US national team captain.
"I never met the guy but he is a successful man," Villarreal said of Ramos. "He's done some great stuff and has played at some big clubs. He has a different style of soccer in mind and that should help out the U-20's."