CARSON, CA - JUNE 01: Mayen: splitting time between Southern California and Southern Florida this season (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Today, we continue our series on Chivas USA player evaluations for the 2011 season. Since we're moving in reverse order of minutes played, today's player, Gerson Mayen, did not stay the whole season, much like yesterday's entrant, Tristan Bowen. Both players seem to have a great deal in common: they are young, come from MLS academies, have potential but may not have an opportunity to reach that potential given the circumstances.
Mayen joined Chivas in 2008, and spent much of that time in the reserves and on loan. He's made no more than 20 appearances in his career for Chivas, including four this season (one start). Last year, he was loaned out to FC Miami, a second division side, before returning to Chivas. But he was loaned out again in the middle of this season, to the same club, that had changed their name to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League. This season, with the Strikers, Mayen scored a goal in 14 appearances, and Ft. Lauderdale went on to the league final. Although they lost the NASL title to NSC Minnesota, Mayen played a major part in the final match, as he was all over the match report, so that's a good sign for his development.
With Chivas, Mayen didn't get many chances with only four appearances, and he didn't score, although he did chip in an assist in 106 minutes of action. Again, he's young (22) and the playing time with Ft. Lauderdale was good for getting him experience. But it doesn't look like he has much of a future with Chivas. Part of the problem may be determining what his proper position is. At times, he's played as a defensive midfielder, as a defender, and as a box to box midfielder. Although I didn't see his action in the NASL, the match report of the final this season indicates that Mayen was possibly playing an attacking role. Obviously, versatility can be good, but it can also prevent players from finding their best position and really developing in it.
It looks like Mayen is taking his future seriously, and this year, he made a switch in national allegiances for soccer. Although he's represented the United States, the country of his birth, at the youth levels, he clearly saw the writing on the wall that he doesn't have much of a shot of playing for the senior team. His parents are from El Salvador, and he switched his FIFA international affiliation in July. He hasn't received a call up yet, and there's no guarantee that he'll get one in the future, but his chances are most likely better than they would be with the U.S. This step may also lead him to the Salvadorean domestic league, where he may be able to establish himself and gain some publicity in his dream to play senior international soccer. It might not be a bad option, all things considered.
Since Mayen is on loan, he may return again to start next season with Chivas. But he looks to be buried too far on the depth chart to really get much traction with the Goats. It looks like sooner or later, his future will be away from Chivas. Still, we wish him luck moving forward, regardless of what happens.
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