South American Under-20 Profile: Player Of The First Day: Joao Rojas (Ecuador)

Ecuadorian forward Joao Rojas was the most notable player on the opening day of the South American Under-20 Championships after he scored two goals against Peru, and takes a look at him...
Personal Information:

Joao Robin Rojas Mendoza
Born: 14/06/1989, 19 years old
Birthplace: La Troncal, Cañar
Position: Forward
Team: Técnico Universitario

First Steps

Rojas burst onto the scene back in 2005 with Municipal de Cañar and the following year moved on to Deportivo Quevedo, before spending a short time with Barcelona Sporting Club de Guayaquil. From there he earned a move to Técnico Universitario, where he made his debut as a professional.

In his early days the youngster was noted for his technique, speed, ball control, and change of direction, and at the age of just 17 he helped his side win promotion to Serie A, playing no less than 38 matches.

Rojas Edgardo Bauza, the coach of Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito, declared that he is, 'very explosive, with technique and a unique speed. That gives him great projection. They should polish him and take care of him at such an age.'

In 2008 Técnico Universitario failed to get to the play-off finals but Rojas was still impressing, scoring three times in the 31 games he played.

After that he was loaned out to River Plate in Ecuador to try and gain promotion with them, but he could not achieve it.

At the end of the year he was invited to be trialled with River Plate in Argentina.

National Team

Rojas has not been a part of recent young Ecuador teams but he arrives at this tournament as one of the great hopes for his country.

The youngster has already played for the full national team, coming on as a substitute in the final minutes against Mexico.


At the end of the 2008 season plenty of teams had their eyes on Rojas, including El Nacional, Barcelona SC, Liga de Quito and Emelec (the club whom he supports), but his price tag of $1 million could potentially put off suitors. At the moment he is currently considering a three-year deal.

After his two goals in the South American Under-20 Championships last night though, no doubt more clubs will be aware of his talent, and this could make it tough for Técnico Universitario to hold on to him for much longer.

Martín Decaux,