In his debut blog for Goal.com, the 20-year-old Tijuana fullback talks about his time in Brazil, Portugal and now Mexico.
I decided to start this blog off by telling you a bit about how I started as a soccer player, my journey through three continents and how it is I arrived in Mexico to play for Xolos.
It was always my dream to become a professional soccer player. When I was 12 years old, I had the opportunity to go play in Brazil, and that’s where the journey started. That’s where I learned the actual basics that helped me get to where I am today. They train all day in Brazil. From there I went back to the States where I spent a good two and a half years of my life before I went to Portugal.
Portugal was special because it meant three and a half years of my life. It was wonderful and I got to play with players that I only dreamed about before. Also, it's where I came into my own as a soccer player as well as a man. It was a challenge for me to adapt to a different style of life and soccer but I came out better for it.
Once I left Portugal, my wife and I bounced around for a while. I got to a point where I decided that a new challenge was needed and I wanted a new opportunity somewhere else. I had the opportunity to renew my contract for two more years in May of 2011, but I said no, to seek out that new chance.
Every place you go is different. Everywhere I've been - Brazil, Portugal and Mexico is up there in terms of the level of play. Soccer in each of these countries is a religion. People don't just have fun with it on the street, they live by it. In Brazil, for example, you wake up every day, as a fan or as a player, and soccer is your life.
A lot of people ask how it is that I ended up in Mexico.
I play with a Mexican passport thanks to my father. He was born in Mexico, but I was raised in Texas. I've had experience playing against some Mexican teams in the past. When I was with the U-14s, we faced Chivas, among others. Now, it brings back memories to me to be able to play against these teams on the pro level. It's absolutely crazy when I stop and think about it.
It's been a long road to get here to Tijuana, for about five months I was unattached. That was hard, as you have to keep providing for your family, but it definitely paved the way for me to arrive in Mexican football. I got a good recommendation from Joe Corona and my agency set it up so I could go there and show Xolos what I was capable of doing.
From the very first day of preseason, everything went as well as it could, and that's how I'm here today.
I'm very comfortable in Tijuana. My wife and I moved here and although we had heard about some of the difficulties that the city had gone through in the past, you can tell it's changed now. From the very first day here, I've absolutely loved it. The city and people are amazing, and everything has been perfect so far.
When I arrived, the team was fighting for relegation. As soon as I saw the quality of players and the chemistry here within the squad, it never crossed my mind that this team would be relegated. I mean, I've only been here three months and I'm already really good friends with almost all the players. That's a rare thing and you can tell that chemistry helps on the pitch as well.
This team has really pushed forward as one, and now, we're not thinking about relegation. We're in a position to make the playoffs now. We've set our goals higher.
Greg Garza is the latest addition to Goal.com's All-Access section! Greg will be providing his thoughts and experiences as a professional soccer player in Brazil, Portugal and now in Mexico with Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente week to week. Read along and tell him what you think in the comment space below!