The return of Avila to Chivas USA

The San Diego native was a part of the Red-and-White Youth Academy back in ’05

Eric Avila training

Photo Credit: 
Olivia Cervantes

When midfielder Eric Avila joined Chivas USA for preseason, little was said about a return to the club.

“Avi,” as he is best known among his teammates was part of Chivas USA’s U19 team back in 2005. In 2006, Avila left to the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he joined the school’s soccer team. Even then, Avila had Chivas USA on his mind.

“I wouldn’t go to class just so I could play with Chivas,” Avila said. “We [Chivas USA] once had a tournament in Costa Rica and I missed a whole week of class just so I could make the trip.”

In order to get away with it, Avila would ask his friends to get his homework from his teachers. The absence of the San Diego-native went unnoticed. Although Avila did not count with his own transportation to team training, he would find a way to get to Bell Gardens Sports Complex, former training site for the Youth Academy.

In his first year at college, despite splitting his time with the Red-and-White U19, the Reserve Team and UCSB, Avila was named Big West Conference Freshman of the Year. It was then that Avila turned his focus onto his collegiate career, scoring 15 goals and adding 18 assists in his three years at UCSB, helping the Gauchos earn their first-ever Division I National Championship, scoring the winning goal.

After his second year of college, Avila’s journey back to where it all started has been a wild one. Drafted as the 19th overall pick in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft by FC Dallas, Avila would make 63 appearances for FCD, and would score three goals before joining Toronto FC in 2011. In last year’s MLS Re-Entry Draft, Colorado Rapids earned Avila’s rights and was traded to Chivas USA in early January.

When Avila returned to Chivas USA early this year, he reunited with former coach (and current Youth Director) Sacha van der Most and Sporting Director Dennis te Klose, both who encouraged and pushed Avila to succeed, something that won’t change.

“It was nice seeing a familiar face,” Avila said about van der Most and te Klose. “They helped me a lot in my time here so it was nice seeing them again.”

Make sure to join Chivas USA on March 2 in The Home Depot Center to see more of Avila on the field as the Goats open the 2013 season facing Columbus Crew. Click here to buy your seats.