Fri, Jul 05 2013 03:01 PM Posted By: John Phillip Wyllie
Back in 2008, when I interviewed Joe Corona, who was at the time starring for Sweetwater High’s soccer team, he told me that he hoped to one day play professional soccer. While many high school players have had that same dream, Corona, through dogged determination, relentless effort and extraordinary skill, has made it happen.
In fact, he has surpassed even that lofty, long-held ambition. On Friday, July 5, Corona will be in uniform for the U.S. national soccer team when it takes on Guatemala at 8 p.m. at Qualcomm Stadium in a tune-up for the upcoming Gold Cup.
Corona had an outstanding four-year career at Sweetwater, contributing to league titles his freshman and senior years and securing a rare CIF title and recognition as the league and CIF Player of the Year as senior. From there, the crafty midfielder played briefly at SDSU before turning pro in 2010 in time to contribute to the Tijuana Xolos rapid rise and unlikely 2012 Mexican League championship.
Soon to be 23, Corona has established himself as a young, up and coming talent on both sides of the border. He is thrilled to be playing in San Diego for the first time as part of the U.S. national team.
“It all started with a dream,” Corona said Tuesday in a hotel interview. “To accomplish that it took a lot of dedication and a will to make it happen. Now, to be able to play (as a member of the U.S. team) in my hometown is something very special for me. I will come out of the locker room excited and with a lot of commitment knowing that I will be surrounded by a lot of friends and family.”
Expected to be among those cheering him on is his former Sweetwater High coach Raul Galindo. The two have remained in contact over the years and Corona credits Galindo with contributing to his success.
“Under coach Galindo, I had four years of solid development,” Corona said. “He encouraged me to take initiative and to develop my leadership skills. He also taught us to not to be too into ourselves and to remain humble.”
It was obvious in talking with Corona that Galindo’s message to remain humble has resonated with him. Despite all of his incredible success, Corona remains the same soft-spoken, humble player that he was in high school.
© 2009 The Star-News