OROZCO READY TO SHOW SKILLS IN PERU
As the US U20 national team prepares to head to Peru next week to participate in the Cuadrangular Internacional Tournament, one of the players who will look to put in a strong performance is right back Emilio Orozco.
Orozco, 18, last played with the US U20 team in February when the team participated in the Copa Chivas tournament in Mexico.
Since then, Orozco has gone on a solid run of play which has translated in a move to Tigres and another invitation to the U20 national team.
"I was happy when I got the news," Orozco told YA. "The last camp I went with the U20s was the Copa Chivas, so I was excited when they called me up again to go to Peru."
Orozco is coming off an impressive outing with Tigres' U19 team when they traveled to Holland to win the Be Quick International Tournament where they defeated Birmingham City, AC Milan, and Heerenveen to win the title.
"Winning a tournament in Holland was a great feeling for me because we played some really good teams from Europe," Orozco recalled. "Winning the tournament made me think that working hard as a team could lead you to good things."
"In the tournament I felt like I did [well] even though I just got to Tigres," he continued. "It was difficult at first to adjust to their style of play but throughout the tournament it became a lot easier to play their style of play."
The powerful Tigres U19 team that has been dominant recently contains several Americans whom have been key contributors to the success.
Orozco is joined by his cousin Moises Orozco and Victor Garza who was named the MVP of the recent tournament in Holland.
Now the Tigres American contingent will try to translate their success from club to country as all three have been named to the US U20 roster for next week's tournament.
Orozco feels that their on-field chemistry will translate between the teams.
"I'm happy to play with my cousin and Victor Garza because I know them very well on and off the field," Orozco discussed. "Now that we are going to play with the US together, I think it would make all of us more comfortable and happy to play."
Orozco is also happy on a personal level to be competing with his cousin because the two have had a playing history together that dates back to when they first began to participate in the sport.
"Playing with my cousin for both Tigres and the US is unbelievable," the Oxnard, California native said proudly. "Moises and I have been playing together with the same teams since we were five years old and to now be playing with the U20 national team and Tigres makes me feel happy and thankful for my uncle who has always been my coach, my dad and family for supporting both me and my cousin in soccer and, most of all, in life."
Orozco is hoping that his ability to both defend and attack will prove to be an asset for the US team as it moves forward in the cycle towards next year's World Cup.
"I play as a defender at right back," Orozco described. "My style of play is to go on the attack a lot and to defend my area and score goals on corner kicks."
Making the US World Cup team next year will be a difficult challenge for Orozco and most other players because this cycle is proving to be a solid group.
Orozco did not participate in last month's impressive Milk Cup championship in Northern Ireland and there are many top players who have not been able to play due to injuries or club commitments.
Still, by transitioning his career to a professional environment in Mexico, Orozco has put himself in a solid position to rise up through the US U20 depth chart.
Head coach Thomas Rongen has frequently stressed that he wants his players to be in a professional environment and Orozco has now done that.
Orozco is one of seven players on the US team heading to Peru who have decided to start their professional career in Mexico. The increased number or players from Mexico compared with previous cycles has been one of the major stories of this U20 team.
Orozco, who eventually wants to play in Europe, agrees with the sentiment that the Mexican-based players will help the US team because he feels strongly that Mexico is good at player development.
"I think Mexico is a good place to for a young player to develop," Orozco said frankly. "Now that I have been here for a while, the competition here is very difficult and intense."
With a roster that will consist almost entirely of professionals, Orozco is optimistic that that the US team will be able to put on a strong showing next year in Colombia and being a part of a World Cup run is something that is important to him.
"I think this U20 national team is very talented [and will] do very well next year," Orozco predicted. "They have very talented players. Making the World Cup next year is a top priority for me because it would be my first time playing in a World Cup."
Orozco and the US team will start their Cuadrangular Internacional Tournament campaign against Paraguay on September 6th followed by Colombia on September 8th. They will conclude with a game against the hosts Peru on September 10th.