CARSON, Calif.--In a press conference on Tuesday, Chivas USA unveiled its new loan acquisition Jesus Padilla. The tricky attacker will join the Major League Soccer club until the end of the season from sister-club Chivas de Guadalajara. The conference featured Padilla, president and CEO Shawn Hunter, and head coach Preki.
“On behalf of the Chivas USA family, I want to officially welcome Jesus,” said Hunter. “He's a very exciting young player and I think his attacking style of play is going to be very popular with our fans. Since I've been on board, Preki's wanted to add him to the roster.”
Padilla was given the number 10 jersey, a sign of the creative weight he will bear for the club. Preki joked that it meant he was required to score 20 goals - or notch 30 assists. The coach knows Padilla from a summer training spell the 22-year-old had with the club before returning to rejoin Chivas de Guadalajara.
“Him and I have a history [from] a few years back,” Preki said. “Once I'd seen him, I never wanted to teach him how to beat people off the dribble because he can do that naturally. That comes easy to him. I was trying to correct his positional play, that I'm still going to do that. We already started today. We'll be working every day on how he moves around the field. If he adapts to that, I don't see any problems. He's going to be one of the better players in the league.”
Padilla saw a loan move as an opportunity to get more consistent minutes in a league he sees as nearly equal to the Mexican Primera Division.
“I was excited,” Padilla said of when he learned of the deal. “It was time to step up to the plate to become someone. In Guadalajara I was just playing 15 minutes and I couldn't show all the soccer I have in me. Coming to Chivas USA is a great opportunity to show all my skills.
“MLS is coming up to the Mexican league. It's almost the same.”
Preki, too, thought the move could help develop Padilla as a player. He sees the forward's potential as capable of taking the player to dizzying heights.
“I think the opportunities are here for him,” Preki said. “It's going to be up to him and only up to him how far he wants to go. We hope he wants to go far because he has that capability.”
Padilla is available and cleared for the match against Toronto FC on Saturday. With 11 matches left in the season, Chivas USA's new number 10 has a lot to do to live up to the lofty words surrounding him.
Zac Lee Rigg, Goal.com
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