Young Club Tijuana goalkeeper wants to give his best effort
Player To Watch: Antonio Rodriguez is new to the Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles roster but is familiar with the city.
The 24-year-old goalkeeper has plenty of memories from visiting family in the region as a child, teenager and now as a professional athlete. He recalls visiting his mother and sister for Christmas and for other family gatherings.
Now he won’t be visiting. He’ll be working here.
The Club Tijuana offseason acquisition spoke to the media during a news conference Friday for the first time Friday since arriving here on loan from Club Leon.
“I am glad to be here in this city where I will give the best version of me,” Rodriguez said after another preseason morning practice. “I want people to feel happy to have me here and I want to be the goalkeeper and the version of me that they want to see.”
Rodriguez comes to the Xoloitzcuintles at a young age but with plenty of experience. Rodriguez is a product of the Club Deportivo Guadalajara youth system and is a player that had a quick rise through the ranks at the club level. He made his first division debut with Chivas in 2013. He is a two-time champion in Mexico, winning both with CD Guadalajara, the 2015 COPA MX and the 2016 Super COPA MX.
Rodriguez, also known as “Toño,” has international winning several accolades with Mexico’s Under-20 team (CONCACAF Under-20 champion, Gold Medal Panamerican games, CONCACAF Olympic qualifying title, also has a Toulon Tournament title, and 2012 Olympic Games Gold Medal).
“I see this as a maturing process,” Rodriguez said about his move to Tijuana. “Thank goodness, things moved quickly for me. I am 24-years-old knowing that there’s a lot of soccer let in me to play and many more games to play. I am in a very important maturing phase in soccer, physically and mentally. I am in a growing and improving process.”
Growing and improving will be part of the process but he also comes to Tijuana hoping to add to that list of personal and team milestones under head coach Eduardo Coudet and goalkeeper’s coach Oscar Duatt. Rodriguez joined a goalkeeper’s group that includes a young Gibran Lajud and veteran Luis Michel.
“It will be a nice competition, it’s part of our position,” Rodriguez said. “There’s a good group of goalkeepers and I am happy to be here and I will give the best of me.