EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – His professional soccer career began as humbly as one can: at an open tryout before El Paso Locomotive FC’s inaugural season. What Chapa Herrera’s football like has become in the five months since is nothing short of incredible.
“The opportunities are always going to be there,” Herrera said. “You just have to take care of them and not let them go.”
A man who was playing pick-up soccer around the Borderland just seven months ago, Herrera has been a breath of fresh air in year one for Locomotive FC. The Bel Air graduate has played in 11 matches, starting four of them as an anchor in the midfield.
“Nothing has phased him. Nothing has made him nervous,” head coach Mark Lowry said. “He’s just taken everything in his stride and he’s been mature about it.”
His work rate has impressed his teammates, too.
“He’s got so much potential to become an even better player and a more established player in the starting eleven,” midfielder Richie Ryan said.
It hasn’t been easy for Herrera. He’s had to completely change his soccer habits, which includes his diet. It’s been a tough transition for a man who was working construction in December, but he says it’s worth it.
“Just working hard every day. I wasn’t used to that and it’s not work that anyone can do because it’s hard work,” Herrera said. “Besides that, you have to work hard on your own, too.”
It’s been that work ethic that has gotten him on the pitch and it’s what will keep him out there for one of the surprise teams in the USL Championship.
“Talent alone wouldn’t get Chapa on the field. It’s about his attitude and his mentality and that’s been superb,” Lowry said.
It’s that opportunity that Herrera won’t let go.
“I think I deserve it, but I still need to keep working hard,” Herrera said.
Herrera and Locomotive FC play two matches on the road this week, first in San Antonio on Wednesday, before taking a trip to Fresno on Saturday.