Miguel Layun (pictured) is expected to play a key role for Mexico in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. (Photo: Mexsport)
CHICAGO -- Miguel Layun walked off the pitch with tears leaking out of his eyes. Mexico had just been eliminated from the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, falling in excruciating fashion to the Netherlands.
It is a moment that the defender won’t forget and one that led to a belief that better days will follow.
After alternate squad failed to get past the Copa America’s group stage last month, the Tricolor is eager to get back into a competitive environment. It all starts again Thursday, when it meets Cuba in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup opener for each at Soldier Field.
Layun sees the tournament as an opportunity to lift a trophy with Mexico and clinch a berth in a playoff against the United States for a ticket to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
“Winning the tournament is everyone’s goal,” Layun said. “We have to have our heads in the game and concentrate on the fact that we need to win the title. We know that it is what is being asked of us, that it represents being in the Confederations Cup. I hope that I can get my first title with the national team.”
The 27-year-old defender – a former Club America standout -- knows that Mexico always aspires to be better, always searching for a platform to show how far football has progressed in the country.
“I am stubborn and close minded in wanting to be part of the World Cup process and then be in Russia so that I can be part of a national team that makes history,” expressed Layun, who joined English side Watford in January. “We have more players with that mentality and that’s the first step that all of us Mexicans want.”