Chivas president Ricardo Pelaez admitted on Monday that the Liga MX club will look at recruiting eligible talent from the United States and other countries.
The Guadalajara-based side has a long-standing tradition of only fielding Mexican nationals or players with family ties to the country. Pelaez, however, admitted that the club should look abroad for eligible players after Sunday’s 3-0 loss to rivals Club America in the Clasico Nacional.
“We have to do a better job with our youth team or go find players in the United States,” Pelaez said in a Monday news conference following the loss.”[Players] with Mexican passports or who have Mexican parents, we have to find them all over the world.”
Despite winning 12 league titles — one less than America — Chivas have won just one crown in the last 14 years.
The loss on Sunday to their Mexico City rivals prompted speculation that Pelaez and coach Victor Manuel Vucetich would resign. Instead, Pelaez bemoaned the fact that Chivas face a difficulty when recruiting talent while rivals regularly sign players from other countries.
“This is a different challenge,” Pelaez noted. “If I were running another team and we needed a player, I’d go to South America. We can’t do that here.”
Chivas did field a U.S.-born player on Sunday, defender Miguel Ponce, who saw red after stepping on Leo Suarez’s ankle. Minutes after going down a man, Chivas allowed the game’s second and third goals.
Despite making the Guardianes 2020 semifinal under Vucetich, Chivas has gotten off to a slow start in 2021. The loss on Sunday dropped them to 13th place and out of the playoff zone.
Pelaez noted that the poor performance this season is not, however, due to his team’s lack of quality players. He said he expects more out of the group, which has extensive experience at the national team level. Six players from the current roster were called up for Mexico’s upcoming Olympic qualifying matches.
“I went around the room and asked how many players had, at one time, played for Mexico at the youth or senior level, and 19 raised their hands,” Pelaez said.