Avila, ready for the challenge
CARSON, Calif. - Eric Avila has been a wanted player throughout his career but this time it’s different.
Avila, a Bradenton Academy product and former FC Dallas draft pick, joined Chivas USA a week ago. As part of the club’s back-to-its-roots approach, Avila fits the player mold the new-look club hopes to build on and progress with.
“It’s always good to be wanted and to be part of some plan that they’re trying to build, it feels great,” Avila said. “It feels more of a motivation for me to keep going and succeed here.”
Avila, 25, joined Chivas from Colorado in a deal that sent Nick LaBrocca to the Rapids. Colorado had selected Avila in the Re-Entry Draft after Toronto FC had made him available. Avila has played 96 career regular-season games since joining the league in 2008, scoring five goals and notching 11 assists.
Those statistics could see a dramatic rise, if Avila proves to be the type of player that coach Jose Luis “Chelis” Sanchez Sola envisions.
“He’s going to be a player who opens space and puts the ball in towards the goal,” Sanchez Sola said. “I need everyone to get to goal and the characteristics and ability of this player can help us get more of an attack.”
With training camp less than two weeks in, the club is working on creating a style of play and carrying over their identity into that. While the time has been limited, the work has begun nevertheless. For Avila, the chance to build and grow along in this process is exciting.
“I’ve had a bunch of coaches, a bunch of styles (in MLS) but I’m really curious to learn this style. I’m excited, all the guys are excited,” Avila said. “This is a whole different view of what MLS soccer is all about, the way the game is played. I think we’re going to try and tweak it a little bit and see what comes about it.”
A big part of the team’s growth and movement forward will be Sanchez Sola. Before taking over as coach, Sanchez Sola said a large emphasis would be placed on attacking and scoring goals. Avila said he is absorbing quite a bit from Sanchez Sola’s tutelage.
“I want to know what he has so I can learn more and more,” Avila said, “especially with all these guys who have a similar play so I can learn more.”