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Molina one cut away from going pro

Weston Ranch native tries out for Mexican reserve team

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Molina one cut away from going pro

David Molina

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POSTED July 4, 2009 2:23 a.m.
Fourteen-year-old Weston Ranch native David Molina is playing it by ear.

“It,” for the moment, being life.

Molina is pursuing a lifelong dream to become a professional soccer player this summer and is currently with his mother, Monica, and relatives in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.

Molina is competing for a spot on the Club de Futbol Indios de Ciudad Juarez (also known as Indios) under-17 reserve team, and the process is a long and arduous one that started with an initial tryout in February with around 1,000 other hopefuls. He returned on June 10 and has been there ever since.

The family’s future is uncertain at this point.

If he makes the squad and signs a contract, the Molinas will move to El Paso, Texas, situated near Juarez across the border.

 “My parents are making a big sacrifice, and I thank them for that,” he said via phone interview Friday. “There’s a little pressure, but you have to live with it. There’s always pressure coming from somewhere, so this is no different than anything else. You just have to live life where it takes you, and that’s how I’m living right now.”

A series of cuts has narrowed down the field to about 60, and Molina has been given no timetable on when the final round of cuts will go down.

Until then, there are two-a-day practice sessions that include 4-to-6-mile jogs, aerobics, resistance training and scrimmages.

“I’m real tired right now,” Molina said.

At his age and stature (5-foot-6, 140 pounds), he is younger and smaller than nearly everyone else vying for roster spots, and he’s had to adjust to the Mexican style of play.

“The game over here is different; there’s more touching, it’s more organized and more intense,” he said. “It’s pretty much at a semi-pro level. I just get motivated when I play kids older and bigger than me.

“I see it as a competition, and I like competition. I feel like I can play with these guys.”

And that is why Manteca Futbol Club Boca Jr. head coach Jose Montes isn’t surprised that his former pupil is still in the running. His blend of skill, confidence, fearlessness and passion is what Montes believes keeps David competitive with the Goliaths.

“What separates him is his leadership and the way he plays the game,” Montes said. “He plays with a lot of emotion and gives everything he has. He doesn’t know the difference between practices and games, because everything to him is competition.

“He’s a little guy but he plays big. I’ve coached a lot of players with his skill, but they don’t have his heart.”

Eduardo Molina calls Monica and David from home every day for updates. Eduardo said he can see David’s competitive fire blazing from afar.

“They have the kids running a lot every day, and one time I asked David, ‘Hey, how are you doing? Are you behind all the guys when you run?” Eduardo said. “He said, ‘No dad, I’m in the front. I’m always in the front.’

“That’s just the way he is. He doesn’t like to lose anything.”

Montes called David a “utility man,” playing him at every level of the pitch during his three-year stint with Manteca FC.

Last fall, as a freshman at Weston Ranch High, Molina was named to the all-Valley Oak league second team as a striker and was selected to the 2008 Bulletin All-Area Soccer Team after leading the Cougars with 12 goals in 14 regular-season matches.

He said is he trying out as a right-wing forward and defender.

Indios is one of 18 clubs in the Mexican Primera Division — the country’s top professional league for soccer.

In just its fourth season of existence, the seventh-seeded Indios made an unexpectedly deep run in the Clausura 2009 tournament this year, beating defending champion Toluca before bowing out to No. 2 Pachuca in the semifinals. Indios was in danger of being relegated to the Primera Division A during the tournament.

The Indios roster features mostly Mexican players but has some from South America. Midfielder Marco Vidal of Dallas, Texas is the only American. There are two others from Texas trying out for the reserve team, and Molina has befriended both.

Indios is making a push for acquiring homegrown talent from the state of Chihuahua, where Eduardo is from. Molina hopes he can represent his family and both countries on the team.
“It’s a great feeling,” he said. “When I try out, I feel like I’m a part of history. It’s really cool, something that not every kid gets to do or to experience.

“I’m thinking I’m going to stay, but you never know. Whatever happens, I’m happy for what I already accomplished.  This is what I’ve always wanted to do — it’s really my dream.”
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