Bornstein begins training with Tigres UANL

Ex-Chivas USA player lines up at left back in intra-squad match

For Jonathan Bornstein, the wait is finally over. The former Chivas USA captain has joined his new club, Mexican First Division side Tigres UANL, and has begun preseason ahead of the 2011 Clausura tournament.

The team began its preseason training near Cancún, Mexico, on Sunday morning with a pool session followed by some time in the gym. The players got their first look at a soccer field on Monday, where they went through training drills in the morning under the care of strength coach Guillermo Orta.

Monday evening was spent in an intra-squad scrimmage that pitted the club’s starting XI, which included Bornstein, against its substitutes. The starters ran out as 5-1 victors thanks to two goals apiece from Héctor Mancilla and Lucas Lobos, and one from Damián Álvarez.

While the Los Alamitos, Calif., native saw plenty of time in the midfield during his final year with Chivas USA, he was used primarily us a left back in Monday's scrimmage, a move that pushed Jorge Torres Nilo into the center with Hugo Ayala. It’s a position with which Bornstein feels comfortable, having played there for most of his professional career.

“Left fullback is a great option,” he said in an interview last July. “The way that I’ve seen the Mexican league play, they like attacking outside backs. They like them to get forward and they find them a lot. I see it being a good spot for me.”

While the soccer itself is an important aspect of Bornstein’s preseason with Tigres, he will also use the time to settle into his new home in Monterrey, Mexico. He doesn’t yet speak Spanish fluently, and has never lived outside of Southern California.

One thing that will likely help to ease the transition is the presence of Héctor Estrada and Carlos Ochoa, the only other two players on the Tigres roster that speak English fluently. Estrada learned the language in Monterrey, while Ochoa lived in California for a spell during his childhood.

It’s not official yet, but it looks as though Bornstein will be wearing the No. 8 jersey for Tigres. The US international wore No. 13 during five seasons with Chivas USA (a number he has also worn with the USMNT on several occasions), but Monday’s scrimmage saw him don the 8 shirt for his new club.

Bornstein will have a tough preseason ahead of him. It looks as though Tigres will hold double sessions throughout their time on the Mayan Riviera before heading back to the city of Monterrey. The club finished ninth in the 2010 Apertura tournament and will be looking to improve next season.

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