Mexico has enjoyed a decade-plus run of Guillermo ‘Memo’ Ochoa being Mexico’s starter no question, as the veteran ages though one has to think what’s next for the Mexican National Team after the 35-year-old hangs up his boots.
Apologies for the title, it may seem like something tragic happened to the starting America goalkeeper, but he is perfectly fine thankfully. After getting readjusted last Clausura 2020 he looked comfortable in the starting spot for America, but not everything can last forever. Don’t take that statement wrongly, he can have a renewed career in Mexico and if anything even extends his career, but as he stopped playing in Europe and grows with age the gap between him and other goalkeepers is starting to shrink.
It is early to think of Qatar 2022, but the tournament will take a departure from being played in the summer due to Qatar’s extremely hot climate, and instead will be played during the Wintertime to help players try to beat the heat. By that moment in time Guillermo ‘Memo’ Ochoa will be 38. The goalkeeper position is an amazing position that usually extends careers due to players not receiving the wear and tear they would in say a midfield role. We have even seen 45-year-old Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary play in a World Cup so for all we know Guillermo ‘Memo’ Ochoa may start the next two World Cups.
Guillermo Ochoa starting the next two World Cups sounds insane correct? It might and should to a lot of people, so the question that needs to be asked is, “When does the Mexico national Team start prepping a replacement for Ochoa?” Now that the goalkeeper is in Mexico practicing his trade-in Mexico, that means the competition would open up to other Mexican keepers for the starting spot, well that’s if anybody was younger and more promising than him.
The issue is other goalkeepers ages that have experienced or are starting on their Liga MX teams. They are old too. Cruz Azul’s keeper Jose ‘Chuy’ Corona? He is 39, he’s older than Ochoa would be at the next World Cup. Okay, if not him then maybe Alfredo Talavera? Alfredo is actually older than Ochoa and is 37 years old. Jonathan Orozco? He is 34 years old, so maybe. Rodolfo Cota might be a nice option at 33, but still. He may be too old.
When looking at the younger goalkeepers with the promise of leading a team there are few that get regular playing time. Sebastian Jurado of Cruz Azul has been stuck behind Jose ‘Chuy” Corona, Chivas youngster, and former Porto FC player Raul Gudino is playing second fiddle to starting goalkeeper Tonio Rodriguez. There is Hugo Gonzales who is 29 years old and came back to Monterrey to take the starting spot back from Marcelo Barovero who left the team.
There is one other team putting their trust in young goalkeepers and that team is Santos Laguna, they recently traded veteran goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco for Manuel Lajud which is an age difference of about 8 years with Lajud being 26 years old.
There is competition for the starting spot with 24-year-old keeper Santos keeper Carlos Acevedo who will try to take that spot, but time will tell who ends up being in the number 1 spot. Fingers crossed one or both of these goalkeepers would get the opportunity to play in Europe. Let’s not also forget Hugo Gonzalez which if Monterrey competes like they can for championships isn’t out of the question. Whoever does may become Mexico’s next Guillermo ‘Memo’ Ochoa. being called up for years and is relied upon most importantly.
Mexico would be wise once friendlies resume easing one or many of these young goalkeepers to the National Team to see the processes and play a friendly or two to strut their stuff. It’s just tough in Concacaf where Mexico usually dominate ball possession and don’t get too many opponents trying their goalkeepers out with shots.
Who’s your go-to up and coming keeper?