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Ronaldo Cisneros: Many people behind hard work in Santos’ youth system

19 de Octubre del 2017 4:34 pm.

?Santos Laguna International Communications

?Contact: Kim Tate ([email protected]

 Santos’ U17 and U20 teams lead the league in points after two 2-1 defeats of Necaxa on Wednesday afternoon.

Head coach Omar Tapia’s U17 group is undefeated in 13 games, and leads the league in offense with 31 goals. After their win, los Guerreros have 42 points, six clear of second place Pumas, and will face Queretaro this Saturday on the road.

Regular starters Hector Holguin, Ruben Perez Vertti, Diego Medina, and Jordan Carrillo are set to return later on Thursday after a week-long camp with Mexico’s U16 national team. Medina and Carrillo have nine goals between the two of them this tournament for Santos.

The U20 team, led by head coach Ruben Duarte, collected three more points after their victory, bringing their tally to 29 points.

The team leads the league in defense with only 11 goals allowed in 12 games. Ronaldo Cisneros maintains his goal leader status with nine goals, averaging one every 89 minutes.

“We're working closely as a team on and off the field and that union is reflected in every fight for the ball,” Cisneros commented after the victory Wednesday afternoon. “Like our coach always says: ‘you have to fight to the death in every play, and for that I see that the team is in first place.’”

The U20 team includes players who train regularly with the first team and have already made debuts in Copa MX, a national cup competition widely recognized for allowing opportunities for younger players and those from the bench to see more playing time with the first team. Those players include Cisneros, defender and team captain Jesus Angulo, and offensive midfielder Alberto Ocejo, who scored the game winner for los Guerreros to give them the two point advantage over second place Puebla.

As part of Santos’ intricate and advanced youth system, select players are often given opportunities to train with the first team on a daily basis. Other members of the U20 and U17 can be invited to train and participate in scrimmages against first team players to keep the level of competition high.

As an example: U16 International and Santos U17 goalkeeper Holguin – an El Paso, Texas native – trains daily with institutional goalkeeper coach Nicolas Navarro, who is responsible for first team goalkeepers Jonathan Orozco and Carlos Acevedo.

Santos President Alejandro Irarragorri recently stated that the institution invests more per player than any other team in Mexico. At the club, youth players - who begin the formal process at U15 - are given everything they need to develop properly according to the club’s standards.

They are given a place to live, and their nutritional, educational, and physical aspects are attended to daily. Each player has full access to a human development department and psychologist whenever needed, and frequently participate in the club’s social responsibility programs, something the club is invested in as it relates to developing the person in addition to the player. “Chances are, when you develop good people, people with good character – you will also have good players,” Irarragorri has commented.  

Santos strives for excellence in its teams. In 2015, both the U17 and U20 teams became champions in the same day, and the following year, Santos’ U15 reached two consecutive finals. It has sent players to Mexico’s youth national teams in every category, from the U15 level up to the U23, and continues to reap the benefits of fielding players with international experience like Cisneros – who is at an age to continue his development and still bring benefits to the U20 team, but also serve the first team when needed.

“From my point of view, it's the people and system we have here, not only the players that make it a successful system,” added Cisneros. “There are a lot of people behind all of this hard work and obviously that is reflected in the fact that both teams are still in first place.”