CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – Legendary GK Guillermo Ochoa is appearing in his fifth Gold Cup and for the first time ever, a Mexico goalkeeper wore the captain’s armband in a Gold Cup match when Ochoa took the field last Wednesday in Mexico’s 3-1 win over Canada.
It was a moment he will always remember.
“First off, for me it is an honor to be able to represent my country, an honor as well to wear the captain’s armband, which is a big responsibility and especially in a national team like Mexico,” said Ochoa in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com. “I feel happy about that moment and I am enjoying it, but the most important thing is to try to help the team, support my teammates and that the team wins,” added Ochoa.
It is no surprise to see Ochoa performing at a high level in the Gold Cup, a tournament in which he has posted nine clean sheets.
“I really like the atmosphere of the Gold Cup. It’s usually played in a country where the settings are ideal for football. Also, it is like playing at home and that helps a lot. To arrive and see how the people do everything just to see the Mexican national team and fill the stadiums, I think that creates a really nice atmosphere. It gives us an extra motivation and we try to return that affection with a win,” said Ochoa.
As a three-time champion of the Gold Cup, for Ochoa there is nothing quite like raising the trophy, especially considering the sacrifices that are made along the way.
“It is a wonderful moment because it is the reward for all the effort you have been making. There are a lot of things that go unseen. You spend a lot of time in a hotel, you can’t go out to a restaurant to eat, you don’t see your family, you don’t have vacation.
“I just became a father for the third time, my daughter is now a month old and I was only able to see her two days. Those are the sacrifices that go unseen, but at the end when you raise the cup, it makes all those sacrifices worth it,” said Ochoa.
If there is one moment from Ochoa’s Gold Cup career that he cherishes the most, it was in 2009 when he started all six matches and helped Mexico secure a 5-0 win over the United States in the Final.
“I was able to play in one in 2007 when we lost the final in Chicago to the United States. We lost 2-1 and I did not play very much in that tournament. My rematch was at the 2009 Gold Cup and no doubt the best memory was getting a result that doesn’t normally happen, especially in a final, which was 5-0 in New York in a full stadium and against our biggest rival in the region. To get that result on that team is always satisfactory for the fans, for our players and for being the first cup that I was able to win and celebrate,” concluded Ochoa.