03/27/2012 2:11 PM
The Rochester Rhinos have agreed to terms with Chilean midfielder Gustavo Zamudio for the 2012 season. The deal is still pending approval from the USL and the USSF. Zamudio, who will be 26 before the season starts, most recently played with Catholica in the Chilean First Division
“We’re pleased to have Gustavo join us for the 2012 season.” Rhinos head coach Jesse Myers said. “He was recommended to us by a friend of (Rhinos President) Pat (Ercoli) and mine – Jorge Alvial, Chelsea FC’s (EPL) Chief Scout of the Americas. With Jorge’s reputation for uncovering talented players we quickly took a look at Gustavo and liked what we saw”
Gustavo Zamudio made his professional debut with Catholica in the Chilean First Division in 2005 at the age of 19. He played in Chile from 2005 to 2008 and returned to Catholica in 2010 after a two year stint in Hong Kong with Kitchee SC. Zamudio won two Chilean First Division titles and the 2011 Copa Chile with Catholica. The 2012 Rhinos season will mark Zamudio’s first appearance in American professional soccer.
“The first thing that impresses you about Gustavo is his technical ability. He’s very good on the ball.” Myers said. “After watching him play for a while you end up realizing how well he reads the game and how well he passes the ball. I inherited a hard working central midfield from Bob (Lilley), and I think Zamudio will complement that group very nicely with his technical flair and ability to get everyone involved.”
Zamudio made his preseason debut with Rochester in Pittsburgh on Sunday, March 18th. The Rhinos lost the match to the Riverhounds 1:0. Zamudio played sixty minutes in the match and felt it was an important learning experience despite the result.
“It’s taken me about a week or two to start to really fit in here.” Zamudio said. “First I had to learn everyone’s name. Then I had to learn everyone’s game – can I pass it to your feet or do you need the ball in space. The first game against Pittsburgh I felt their pressure because they were fast. As our team develops together our passing and play will develop.”
Jorge Alvial is Chelsea FC’s Chief Scout of the Americas, and he recommended Zamudio to the Rochester Rhinos. In 2006 Alvial was the head coach of the Puerto Rico Islanders (USL). After the 2006 season he left Puerto Rico and signed with Chelsea. Alvial has been credited with scouting top players: Humberto Suarzo (Monterrey, Mexico), Franco Di Santo (Wigan, EPL), Ramiro Funes Mori (River Plate, Argentina & Argentina U20s), Mark Gonzalez (CSKA Moscow), Jhon Pirez (Chelsea), and Diego Fagundez (NE Revolution). Alvial took a break from Chelsea in the first half of 2008 to join FC Dallas, and he was instrumental in the scouting and selection of Brek Shea (FC Dallas, MLS & USMNT) with the second overall pick in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft. He returned to Chelsea in May 2008 and remains their Chief Scout of the Americas.
The Rochester Rhinos preseason schedule continues this weekend when they host Colgate at Sahlen’s Stadium on Friday, March 30th at 7PM and the University of Buffalo on Sunday, April 1st at 4PM. Admission to both preseason matches is free of charge.
“We have a good group of players and a good group of guys here.” Zamudio said. “Every time I step on the field - whether it be training, a friendly, or a match - I am trying to win. We have a bunch of guys here who feel the same way. We want to win the league. We want to win the cup. We want to win all that we can.”