Chile coach seeks blend of youngsters, veterans

Chile coach seeks blend of youngsters, veterans

Chile’s coach Reinaldo Rueda attends a press conference of the Chilean national soccer team at Friends Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, 23 March 2018. EPA-EFE/FILE/JONAS EKSTROMER SWEDEN OUT


Coach Reinaldo Rueda’s aim in adding younger players to the national soccer team is a squad with a mix of veterans and new talents, two of the newcomers said here Tuesday.

“It’s integration more than replacement, trying to add new faces to this team,” Oscar Opazo told a press conference in Santiago.

The team is preparing for upcoming friendlies against Costa Rica and Honduras.

Opazo and Sebastian Vegas are two of the additions made by Rueda to refresh the side ahead of the 2019 Copa America and the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup.

Vegas, a 21-year-old defender, said that coach is creating a “mixture” of players having little or no international experience with established figures such as Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sanchez, Gary Medel and Jean Beausejour.

Training with players at the level of Barcelona’s Vidal and Manchester United striker Sanchez is very useful for the newcomers, the defender said.

“If reaching the team is already a motivation, finding yourself with players such as Arturo, Alexis or Beausejour is an extra motivation,” Vegas said.