With the long-awaited CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament nearly here, coach Caleb Porter has called in 19 players for the final training camp before the tournament. For Chivas USA fans, a familiar sight in recent months came with the announcement that Jorge Villafaña was included on the list. It's good news for him, of course, but also good news for Chivas, as the club may get some prestige from a player involved in the Olympic mix.
It must be noted that this announcement did not say this was the tournament roster, so while it makes sense that the training camp group will be the same group for the tournament, it isn't assured. The camp is scheduled to run from tomorrow to March 20, and then the roster will be finalized and the tournament will begin March 22. So is there a chance Villafaña could just miss out on the tournament? Yes, but his chances seem good. He is just about the only left-footed player in the defense, and it looks like he's beaten out Greg Garza of Club Tijuana to make this camp, which would probably surprise some people.
In reflecting on the reviews for Villafaña's performance the last several months, it seems he's gotten universally positive reviews from people who've observed him in U23 camps (never mind the fans who don't know much about him and assume he must be playing badly because he doesn't play for a European club). One writer who has watched Villafaña in at least one camp is Franco Panizo, who tweeted today that he didn't think our man Jorge would make the cut to London if the U.S. ultimately qualifies. I don't think Panizo has any inside information, so we'd have to wait and see if he makes the cut for the qualifying tournament, if he sees the field, and if the U.S. qualify, if he got the nod to go to the Olympics. Still, my belief is that this is a really great story, however long it lasts, and I'm hoping Villafaña gets to see it through.
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