Joe Corona is a midfielder who has been chosen as part of US Manager’s Jurgen Klinsmann’s 30-man preliminary World Cup squad. Corona is a player with Tijuana in Liga MX in Mexico. He’s one of only two Mexican-based players in Klinsmann’s team. He has played 11 times for the US, scoring two goals.
Here’s what you need to know about him:
1. He Played For Mexico at Youth International Level
Corona is a US citizen. He’s of Mexican and Salvadoran descent but was born in Los Angeles. Despite being born in the US, he began his international soccer life playing with the Mexico Under-22 team in the 2011 Pan American Games. He played one game during the tournament, but shortly afterward decided to switch his allegiance to the United States Under-23 team. He played a few games for the US team in the Olympic qualifiers but that campaign ended in disappointment. His first full-appearance came for the US against Scotland in May 2012. His first competitive game was against Guatemala in a World Cup qualifier in October 2012.
2. He Turned to Pro to Help His Family Out
As a promising young player, he was voted San Diego Union Tribune’s high school player of the year in 2008, Corona was offered a partial scholarship to San Diego State University. After a great first season there, he was forced to dropout of school after his sister nearly died. In April 2009, his sister, Miriam, suffered a stroke after a brain aneurysm. Corona’s parents, Angel and Janira, left their jobs to care for Corona’s sister. Unable to afford to the rest of Corona’s tuition, he was forced to drop out.
3. He’s Had a Hard Time in Tijuana Lately
Corona played first for San Diego team, Nomads, like US soccer legend Frankie Hejduk. In 2010, Corona moved south-of-the-border to Mexico to play for Tijuana in the Liga MX. During 2013, when Corona was starting to establish himself in the US team, he was struggling to get into the Tijuana team. In the 2012-13 season, Corona played just 11 times for Tijuana compared against 29 appearances in 2011-12 and 39 in 2010-11.
4. Corona is One of Only Two Players Based in Mexico on the US Team
In an interview with MLS.com, Corona expressed his surprise that he and US veteran, DeMarcus Beasley, were the only the Liga MX players in the World Cup team. Corona said:
I was a little bit surprised. There were a couple players that were in the process of World Cup qualifying, and when I saw it was only me and DaMarcus, I was surprised. I was happy to be one of them.
It’s surprising when US Coach Jurgen Klinsmann spoke so highly of Liga MX last summer, saying:
You see their influence [Liga MX players] on the field and off the field. They are focused and hungry. They live in an environment where they are accountable for what they are doing because it’s a soccer crazy environment south of the border, and we benefit from that.
A total of six players who play in Liga MX appeared for the US during the World Cup qualification, but only Corona and Beasley have made it on the World Cup roster.
5. His Mom & Dad Wanted Him to Play For Mexico
His parents had wanted him to play for Mexico at international level. Corona’s mother is Salvadorian, but the player has said that he identifies himself as a Mexican-American. Despite working in Mexico, Corona lives across the border in San Diego.