Vancouver Whitecaps Acquire Mexican International Efrain Juarez From Monterrey
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In 29-year-old Mexican midfielder/right back Efrain Juarez, the Vancouver Whitecaps have acquired one of the greatest prospective films of all-time. Like any great movie, Juarez’s story starts at the beginning.
The native of Mexico City won the 2005 U-17 World Championship with El Tri (alongside the likes of Giovani dos Santos and Carlos Vela) while on the books at Pumas, facilitating an ill-fated stint with Barcelona’s B team. He then resurrected his young career by returning to Mexico to play for Pumas, helping his club to the 2009 Clausura championship.
Juarez’s form saw him become a regular with the national team, and he played a large role in Mexico’s 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup triumph while also starting matches against South Africa and France at the 2010 World Cup.
His performances for Mexico caught the eye of Scottish giants Celtic, and the club paid nearly $3 million for his services in July of 2010. Juarez signed a four-year deal and became the first Mexican to ever play in the SPL. However, things took a turn for the worse shortly after.
In September, Juarez was banned from playing for Mexico for six months after throwing a party at the team hotel after a friendly against Colombia. He fell out of favor at Celtic and was subsequently loaned out to Real Zaragoza for the start of the 2011-12 season. He was then transferred to Club America before finally settling with Monterrey, where he’s been since 2013.
After appearing 39 times for Mexico between 2009 and 2011, Juarez’s national team appearances came to an end.
Juarez appeared in eight league matches, seven Copa MX games and two playoff contests for Los Rayados in the 2017 Apertura season. While largely just a role player, it’s important to note that he was a role player on Mexico’s best team.
Accordingly, the 29-year-old is a huge addition for Vancouver.
“We are very excited to add Efrain to our group,” said Whitecaps manager Carl Robinson. “He’s an extremely talented player who has experience at the highest level, can play multiple positions, and fits the character type we want at our club. We firmly believe in Efrain’s technical ability, grit, and leadership qualities and we look forward to seeing him with our group.”
After finishing third in the Western Conference last season and bowing out to Seattle in the conference semifinals, the ‘Caps have already added young Venezuelan forward Anthony Blondell, league legend Kei Kamara and former LA Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe to their ranks this offseason.
“I’m so happy and excited for this new stage in my career,” Juarez said. “It’s an opportunity for me to keep growing in a new league and to be a part of an amazing club in Vancouver. From the moment they showed interest in me, Carl Robinson and the Whitecaps staff have made me feel very important. I promise to put all my effort into this club and do my best to help us achieve our goals.”