BRIAN SCIARETTA - Wednesday, May 23, 2012
The Mexican season has now come to a close but one American player who has his sights set on a breakout season in 2012/13 is Necaxa forward Alexandre Gonzalez.
Gonzalez, 20, is a forward with both good speed and physical strength. He is considered a top prospect within Necaxa's system and he has been a regular with the club's youth teams in recent years. But in March as the season drew to a close, he was promoted to the first team where he began to earn minutes.
Necaxa currently plays in Mexican second division known as the Liga de Ascenso and they finished in third place in the Clausura. They were eliminated from promotion in the playoffs by Lobos BUAP.
Despite the promotional setback, Gonzalez was excited that this past season gave him the opportunity to breakthrough to the first team.
"I was extremely excited when I got the opportunity to play with Necaxa's first team," Gonzalez told YA through a Spanish interpreter. "I was surprised and at first I couldn't believe it. Every day that goes by, I want to work very hard to keep showing everyone that I earned the promotion to the first team and that I belong there."
In the 1990's, Necaxa was one of the strongest clubs in Mexico where they won three titles in the decade. Their power eventually declined in the 2000's and the club was relegated out of the Primera for the first time in 2009.
Necaxa quickly earned promotion back to the Primera in 2010 but their reversal of fortune lasted only a year and in 2011 they were relegated for a second time.
With Gonzalez's promotion to the first team, he has found himself as part of an emerging young group of players for Necaxa that hopes to return the club to their former elite status.
"We have a young and strong team," Gonzalez said. "But to get Necaxa back to the top level, we will have to give everything we have and leave it all on the field for the club to get back to where it was. But we have a good and young core. If we come together, we can get back to the top division soon."
For Gonzalez, last season saw his introduction to Necaxa's first team but next season he expects more from himself. He has already met with the club's coaching staff to discuss his future and now he is confident that the opportunity will be there for him to earn consistent minutes from the start of the season.
"I expect that if I can work hard I can become a regular again with the first team," Gonzalez explained. "I've already been talking with the coaching staff and directors at the club and I know I have an opportunity to be there and contribute a lot."
Gonzalez's mother was born in St. Louis, Missouri and his father was born in Mexico. Gonzalez was born in San Jose, California but left the country to play soccer in Mexico when he was 13 years old.
Initially he joined up with Chivas where he spent time with their youth teams. Eventually, he would find his way to Necaxa.
As a young Mexican-American playing professional soccer in Mexico, Gonzalez is well aware of the fierce rivalry that exists between the United States and Mexico on the soccer field.
While he is still young and a long way from being ready to play for either national team, Gonzalez's international preference is with the Stars and Stripes. In particular, he is impressed with the number of Mexican-Americans such as Jose Torres, Edgar Castillo, Joe Corona, and Herculez Gomez who are currently on the US national team.
"I would like to play for the United States," Gonzalez stated. "Obviously the United States federation has done a good job recently with younger players. I think they've especially done a good job with Mexican-Americans. There are a good number on the team now."
While Gonzalez's is happy at Necaxa and is focused on helping the team earn promotion, Gonzalez also hopes that one day he can return to the United States to play professionally. He has not been back to the US in almost three years, but playing in the country's top domestic league is an idea that his interesting to him.
"I would love to play in MLS in one day," Gonzalez concluded. "I don't have a preference but I like the California teams - the Galaxy, Chivas USA, and San Jose. I haven't been to the United States in about three years but it is where I'm from. Playing in MLS is an opportunity I would love to see happen in the future."