Not so long ago, Juan Pablo Ocegueda was far from home, playing in Mexico’s second professional level’s Alebrijes de Oaxaca while on loan from Liga MX powerhouse Tigres UANL. Ocegueda was miles from home, doing what he loves, but the only way his family could see him was on TV. Week in and week out, his dad didn’t miss any of his games, sharing his critique with the young Ocegueda after the game through a text message.
But now, Ocegueda has the chance to hear the critiques live as he has his dad and the rest of his family supporting him and his new club, Orange County SC, in the stands for every home game in the all-new Championship Stadium in Irvine, Calif.
“The atmosphere, you can’t compare that to anything,” Ocegueda said about OCSC games. “The people that have been here really support us.”
But before Ocegueda began his professional career, he started off his playing career in Cal South playing for CS Italia, South Coast Bayern, and eventually finishing off his youth club career with West Coast FC. With West Coast, Ocegueda has plenty of unforgettable moments to recall.
In particular, he recalls the time he and West Coast FC were in the US Youth Soccer National Championship Semifinal. The team was down 2-0, but with 15 minutes to go, the team was able to come back, with Ocegueda putting the winning goal into the back of the net. The team went off to finish as National Finalists.
In addition to the Cal South and US Youth Soccer competition, being a part of the PRO+ODP Program helped set the international stage for Ocegueda, who received numerous call-ups to U.S Youth National Teams.
“If you really think about it, there were a lot of players that ended up going into the National Team that were playing in Cal South, so we were getting a taste of it in the beginning,” Ocegueda said. “Playing against a lot of competitive teams like Arsenal, Blast, South Bay Force, teams like that, always helped you out. It was competition day in and day out, in every competition we played, Surf Cup, Nomads Cup, all those tournaments, really helped me get into Mexico and just being competitive in the beginning,” he added.
In his first year with the Orange County club, Ocegueda has kept his elite competition level in the team’s attempt to get into a USL Playoff position, which with three games at hand, sits with 29 points, four points behind a berth.
You can catch local talent Juan Pablo Ocegueda and other fellow Cal South players when Orange County SC takes the field against Sacramento Republic FC on October 4 at 7:30 pm at the all-new Championship Soccer Stadium at Orange County Great Park. Click here for ticket information!