Chivas USA announced on Wednesday that it has signed midfielder Francisco ‘Panchito’ Mendoza, the Mexican player with the most all-time Major League Soccer appearances, as well as goalkeeper Sergio Arias, a star of Mexico’s U-17 World Cup winning team in 2005, on loan from Chivas de Guadalajara. Mendoza is re-joining Chivas USA, having played for the club from 2005-2009, during which time he registered 5 goals and 16 assists in 111 regular-season games, the most appearances ever for a Mexican-born player in Major League Soccer history. Both players will be eligible pending receipt of their International Transfer Certificates (ITC).
“Panchito and Sergio are important additions for this season, and we’re excited to officially welcome them to the team,” said Head Coach Robin Fraser. “Both of them have been with us since the start of preseason, so they’re already comfortable with the group. Panchito is an important player in this organization’s history and knows the club very well, and Sergio is a talented young goalkeeper with a great deal of potential.”
A native of El Salto, Jalisco, Mexico, Francisco Mendoza was originally acquired by Chivas USA in January 2005, prior to the team’s first season in Major League Soccer, from Chivas de Guadalajara’s youth system. The youngest player on Chivas USA’s first-year squad, the left-sided midfielder made his MLS debut at age 19 in Chivas USA’s inaugural game, coming on as a first-half sub for injured midfielder Francisco Gómez against D.C. United on April 2, 2005. The versatile Mendoza would go on to become a regular starter for the Red-and-White, registering 5 goals and 16 assists in 111 regular-season MLS games (9,423 minutes) while playing in both defense and midfield.
Mendoza returned to Chivas de Guadalajara for the 2009 Clausura season in the Mexican First Division, where he made three appearances for the team (five in all competitions), as well as eight more matches for Guadalajara’s reserve side, Tapatío. The midfielder spent the 2009 Apertura with Jaguares of Chiapas, making one First Division appearance, before joining Club Tijuana of the Liga de Ascenso (second tier) for the 2010 Clausura, where he played in six matches and scored one goal. Most recently, Mendoza helped Indios de Ciudad Juarez in the 2010 Apertura, making 18 appearances (all starts), scoring three goals.
Sergio Arias, a native of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, comes out of the Chivas de Guadalajara youth system and has played for Chivas’ youth division teams as well as Club Deportivo Tapatío, Guadalajara’s reserve team. In 2007-2008, Arias joined Mexican Liga de Ascenso (second division) team Dorados de Sinaloa, where he played 36 matches in the Apertura 2007 and Clausura 2008 seasons.
In 2005, Arias was the goalkeeper for the Mexican Under-17 National Team at the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship, held in Peru. Arias played every minute for Mexico, keeping four shutouts in six games and allowing just three goals in the tournament. Mexico captured the title, the country’s first and only World Championship in soccer, by beating Brazil 3-0 in the championship match.