Club Tijuana's Greg Garza (left) in LIGA MX action against Pumas. (Photo courtesy of Club Tijuana)
For Victoria v Club Tijuana game notes, please click here.
By Ivan Orozco
TIJUANA, Mexico -- Greg Garza doesn’t waste chances. The Club Tijuana defender understands that opportunities are scarce. He makes the best of what life offers.
With the Xolos, Garza has found a home not only on the pitch, but in life. The 22-year-old is one of the team’s up-and-coming bright spots, becoming a “go-to” guy for specific match-ups.
That includes the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL). Garza could be in head coach Jorge Almiron’s plans for a Group 7 road game against Victoria in La Ceiba, Honduras. It will be Victoria’s competition debut.
In the young season, Garza has seen more playing time in both the LIGA MX and the CCL. He came on as a second-half substitute in Tijuana’s scoreless draw against L.A. Firpo of El Salvador on August 8.
The Dallas, Texas, native doesn’t mind being called into action when starting leftback Edgar Castillo is on international duty with the United States or to fill in for the injured Juan Carlos Nunez.
Every minute on the pitch is golden for Garza. He’s played in Brazil, has been part of US Soccer’s youth residency program and had short stints in Portugal with Sporting Lisbon and Estoril.
Though he was unemployed before coming to Tijuana, he has found peace in the Mexican city.
“I have literally been on a soccer roller coaster. I have had so many high and special moments and have also had very frustrating and sad moments throughout my career,” said Garza, who lives with his wife Tauanna and son Francesco. “I have been put in situations to overcome adversity with not having a club for quite some time and being jobless before coming to the Xolos.
“Family always comes first. Being away from my family is definitely a huge sacrifice, but knowing that they understand and support me no matter what really gives me the strength to do my best. Soccer is what brings me happiness and having my family to give me even more support is what allows me to live a life of absolutely no worries.”
That is why Garza is soaking in all that he can every time he is on the field. Against Firpo in San Salvador, he gave the Xolos a spark, roaming up and down the left flank. On Saturday, the speedy back nearly scored in a 2-1 LIGA MX loss at Monterrey.
“I believe that there are always going to be tough situations for a professional soccer player and even though I have gone through some tough, adverse situations as a very young person and player, I have realized that we cannot take this job or sport that we love for granted. We must take every moment and live it to the max because soccer isn't something that lasts forever.”