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It was a now or never moment for Edgar Olaguez’s dreams of becoming a professional soccer player.
So the standout defender from Morton College’s 2015 NJCAA national-qualifying squad traveled roughly 1,900 miles to Mexico to play for the Durango Alacranes, a professional team in Mexico’s Segunda (second) Division.
Durango also is Olaguez’s hometown. He came to a practice and asked for a try out. The rest is history as Olaguez made the team and heads back in July of 2018 for his second season. In his rookie year, Olaguez averaged about 15 to 20 minutes per game the first half of the season. His playing time increased significantly in the second half.
“It’s always been my dream to play pro,” said the 20-year-old Olaguez. “My time is running out, so I took my shot.
“Durango is a great club,” Olaguez said. “Many big-name players have passed through and currently are playing in a high division. It’s an excellent place to start my professional career.”
Durango’s season runs the traditional professional soccer league format of August to May. It is divided into two sections per season, each with its own champion. The Apertura or opening part of 17 games runs from August to November, while the Clausura or closing part of 17 games goes from January to May.
During the Clausura part of the 2017-18 season, the Alacranes reached the playoffs for the first time in five years, but were eliminated by Roboceros by an aggregate 2-0 score over two games.
“We finished last place (during the apertura – the first six months),” Olaguez said. “The club made some changes and we turned things around the second half and qualified for playoffs so I would say it was a successful season.”
After Morton College, Olaguez played on local teams and practiced daily on his own. In high school, Olaguez was part of a very successful Chicago Blast team that included current Chicago Fire member Djordje Mihailovic, the son of Cicero native and a former pro soccer player himself.
“I knew I could play at the pro level because I believed I had the skill and potential for it,’ Olaguez said. “When you mix that with working hard and wanting it, anything is possible.”
While Olaguez played just one year of soccer at Morton College, he credits Panther coach Juan Franco for playing an important role in his development.
“Coach Franco just brought out a whole different level of confidence in me,” Olaguez said. “He brought out my full potential.”
Olaguez isn’t ready to stop at Durango. He wants more.
“I would just like to add that I'm thankful for my family, friends, fans and most of all God for helping my dream come true and that it doesn't stop yet,” Olaguez said. “I still want to move on to bigger clubs and accomplish my goal of playing in the 2022 World Cup.”