Padilla: Hoping he can settle down with La Piedad - Victor Decolongon
A player who has never settled recently moved to a familiar place.
It is fitting that as Chivas USA reconvenes its policy of bringing in players from Chivas de Guadalajara, we check in with a former player of that policy, Jesus Padilla. The forward played for both Chivases, scoring seven goals in 39 league games for Chivas USA from 2009-10 (including six in 2010 - better than what any player could accomplish in 2012 for the team).
As Jorge Vergara famously (or infamously) stated in November during his major press conference about Chivas USA, he gave then-Chivas USA coach Preki the option of getting Chicharito on loan, but Preki instead picked Padilla. That statement will continue to take on a life of its own, but it is safe to say Padilla's career has not hit the heights of Chicharito's, by a long shot.
At the time, it seemed like Padilla could be a great fit for Chivas USA. Born in California to Mexican parents, he fit the Chicano profile of the club well. When he was first signed to Chivas de Guadalajara, he became a trailblazer of sorts for his nationality status. In an effort to include Padilla under Chivas' policy of selecting only Mexican players, Vergara's take was simple: "We go by the definition in the Constitution. Mexican law says that you are a Mexican if you are born outside Mexico and both parents are Mexican."
In the end, Padilla had trouble getting playing time in Guadalajara, and attempted to jumpstart his career in Carson. Since Chivas USA didn't renew his contract in March of 2011, he's gone to Liga Ascenso side CF La Piedad, first on a loan, and now he's there on a full contract. He's scored eight goals for the club in his spell there, including one January 6 against Celaya, in an appearance off the bench. He's been getting consistent playing time lately, but he looks to be more of a substitute option for La Piedad coach Cristobal Ortega.
Rather unfortunately, Padilla spent last season with Chivas de Guadalajara, apparently on one last spell with the club that spent the energy to justify his signing. He made seven appearances in the 2012 Apertura. What's unfortunate is that La Piedad won the second division title last season, so he missed out on that. Regardless of how they perform this season, La Piedad will feature in a playoff at the end of the season with the winner of the 2013 Clausura, to see who will be promoted to the Liga MX (unless they win the Clausura as well, in which case they will be automatically promoted). Padilla has perhaps struggled to justify much of the hype surrounding him, but at 25, he still has time to find some stability and perhaps find a way to play consistently in the Mexican Primera.
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