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SOCCER

Rising look forward to return of target man Cortez

By - Jul 28, 2017

By Orlando Manzo/For The Sporting Nation


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Red-and-white blood runs through the veins of Chris Cortez. 

His father taught him a passion for soccer and a love for Chivas de Guadalajara.
 
The-29-year-old Phoenix Rising FC striker started playing soccer at a young age with his younger brother Brandon. After classes, they would both go out to a huge open field behind their home in Mission Viejo, California. Their father, a huge Chivas fan who came to the United States from Guadalajara, Mexico, stimulated the passion for soccer in Cortez.
 
Cortez received South Coast League first-team all-league honors as a junior and senior, from Trabuco Hills High School, and led his team to the South Coast League Championship in 2005.
 
After high school, Cortez played for Pateadores Soccer Club in Irvine, California. Then he played one year of soccer at the University of California-Berkeley before signing with Chivas USA's youth academy.
 
Signing with Chivas made his dad very happy, and Cortez made his Major League Soccer debut on May 15, 2011 against the New York Red Bulls, coming on as a second-half substitute in a 3-2 victory.
 
“My dad was happy regardless of the team, he was happy because I finally reached a first division team and made my debut on the same day. That was the dream he wanted, and doing that with Chivas was just the icing on the cake.” Cortez said.
 
Cortez also played for Pachuca in Mexico. It was a totally different soccer environment where he learned how to be a professional on and off the field.
 
“Playing in Mexico was very different than here. Everything was done with the ball, warming up, stretching and even conditioning. Technically in Mexico kids are more gifted with the ball. Pachuca also provides kids with their own school, and teaches everyone values on how to be a respectful person,” Cortez said.  
 
Cortez then played two years for the Orange County Blues in lower-division American soccer, scoring 20 goals in three seasons. Now, Cortez is in his second season with Phoenix Rising having made 27 appearances and scored seven goals while giving out another four assists.
 
This season, Cortez suffered a small meniscus tear on his right knee which required arthroscopic surgery, but after being out several weeks he is close to returning to game action. 

“He is vital for the team, he is really good in the air and having him out for the last couple of games is unfortunate. He is a different option up front, he is quick despite being a big man and we look forward for having him back,” teammate Peter Ramage said.
 
Ramage, captain of the team for the last two years, is also in his second season and he described Cortez as “deceptive.”
 
“There is a lot more into him than what you see. He is not just a big man, he is good on his feet, quick and good in the air,” Ramage said.
 
Other teammates are also missing having Cortez, like Brock Granger, defender for the team and a close friend of Cortez. Granger and Cortez played against each other when Cortez played for Orange County Blues and Granger was playing for the Dayton Dutch Lions of the USL.
 
“He an unbelievable player, I've known him for a while now. He is good on holding the ball, he can also play as a wing and make inwards cuts to score a goal,” Granger said. “I mean, anywhere in the box you don’t want to give him the space because he will score.”

 

 

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