Chivas USA defender Jonathan Bornstein tried to answer a reporter’s question in Spanish.
“Yo siente bien para jugar en Mexico (I feel good about playing in Mexico),” Bornstein said. “Umm, I’m looking forward to it.”
He’ll need to work on his Spanish.
After Chivas’ MLS season ends in October, Bornstein will transition into a new role with Mexican First Division club Tigres UANL. Tuesday he spoke about his motivations for signing a four-year pre-contract that will keep him with Tigres through January 2015.
“I think the level is very high, and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to go there,” Bornstein said. “I want to prove myself and prove my game."
Talks between Bornstein and other clubs began only weeks ago, though the idea of playing in Mexico was one Bornstein said was an option because his mother is from Juarez, Mexico, and it is easy for him to become a citizen of the country.
“I never wanted to close any doors on myself," Bornstein said. "Over the years of my career, Mexico has always been somewhere I spoke with other clubs about interest. There were always ideas of going there.”
In the move, Bornstein will receive an increase in pay from the $100,000 he makes with Chivas, which will be paid to him in American dollars.
Bornstein spoke with a number of players who have participated in the Mexican League before he made the decision. Two he called on were Chivas teammates Paulo Nagumara and Mariano Trujilla, who previously played with Tigres and Atlante.
“They all have enjoyed playing down there, enjoyed the lifestyle, just enjoyed everything about it,” Bornstein said. “That was definitely influential in my decision to go play over there.”
Bornstein said he was excited to start something new, but made it a priority to close the season for the team he has spent the last five years with.
“I wanted to stay to finish out my contract to show Chivas I was committed to the end; I had committed for this long,” Bornstein said.
His career includes time at Cal Poly Pomona, UCLA and Chivas. It has never led him out of California, with a lengthy stay in Johannesburg, South Africa, for U.S. Soccer's participation in the World Cup being the lone exception.
Bornstein doesn’t believe he has any family who now live in Juarez. He remains interested in his heritage and learning the culture of Mexico. Bornstein also says he’s a lot better at Spanish when reporters don’t pressure him to speak it.
“I can read and write way better because it gives me a chance to think about it,” Bornstein said. “When you’re put on the spot in interviews, it doesn’t bring out my best quality of Spanish.”
-- DeAntae Prince
Photo: Jonathan Bornstein. Credit: Stephen Dunn, Getty Images.