The Tijuana Xolos are in 2nd place with 12 points after six Liga Mx games this season. Although there’s been personnel turnover, the one thing that’s been steady is Coach Miguel Herrera. He is somewhat of a celebrity south of the border because of his fiery personality and successful career; maybe a good comparison in American sports would be Michigan head football coach, Jim Harbaugh.
But in order to get a better perspective of the man, let’s run a quick profile on the Xolos head coach.
Miguel Herrera was a professional soccer player in the Mexican league from 1987 to 2000. He mostly played as a defender for five different teams. His style of play was similar to the way he coaches, as he always brought 100% intensity to the soccer field. He was somewhat limited physically as he only stands at 5’6”, but he played much bigger than that. Think of a short CB in football, that makes life hard for an opposing WR. He also developed a knack for getting underneath the skin of the opponents, which earned him the nickname “louse”.
After his playing days, Herrera decided to give coaching a try. He got his first chance in 2002, getting the job at club Atlante, a modest club with a rich history. He did a good job there from 2002 to 2004. After that, he headed to Monterrey and he got to the finals twice. Unfortunately for him and his team, they lost on both occasions. He went on to coach for a couple of small teams without much success, but he was highly thought of in coaching circles.
In 2012, there came a career changing opportunity when he was offered the job at Club America, which might be Mexico’s biggest sports franchise. Think of the Dallas Cowboys combined with the swagger of the Jimmy Johnson’s Miami Hurricanes. Miguel Herrera had great success at America, winning the league championship in 2013. He then was called to head up a struggling Mexican national team in the 2014 World Cup. He did a marvelous job leading the national team. Unfortunately for him, they lost to the Netherlands in the second round in a very competitive game.
After the World Cup, it was assumed that Herrera was going with “El Tri” until the 2018 World Cup, but in June 2015, everything went bad for Miguel Herrera. Mexico had just finished a rather embarrassing participation in the tournament known as Copa America, and a Mexican play-by-play announcer criticized Herrera’s decisions during said tournament. Miguel Herrera decided to take matters into his own hands and confronted his critic. The two of them came to blows in Philadelphia, and after arriving in Mexico City, Herrera was fired, ending what could’ve been a great run for the national team.
Many thought he was never going to get another job, but the Xolos missed the playoffs for three straight years and the fan base was becoming increasingly tough on the ownership. So they decided to roll the dice on a guy that is brilliant with the schematics of the game, but needed to mature as a person. Thankfully, he’s been on his best behavior in Tijuana, and it looks like Xolos will be a contender for years to come, because they have the best coach in Liga Mx.