Chicagoland native reflects on last year’s tryouts

 By: Hunter Tickel

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — A year ago, goalkeeper Jose Resendiz was fresh out of University of Dubuque with one goal in mind — becoming a pro.

 Little did he know, it would be the indoor game not the outdoor. Resendiz grew up within shouting distance of Grand Sports Arena in Hoffman Estates, the home of the Chicago Mustangs. He attended Streamwood high school from 2008-2012.

 “I’ve always known about the Mustangs,” Resendiz said. “I thought it would be great to play for the Mustangs. They aren’t that far away, it’s basically home.”

 At Dubuque, he racked up the statistics that matched his drive to continue to the next level.

 Resendiz posted 89 saves and had a 1.34 goals against average, which ranks sixth and fifth all-time among Spartan keepers, respectively. He finished his collegiate career with seven wins, three shutouts and 2,149 minutes.

 After impressing coach Armando Gamboa at last summer’s tryouts, he earned the right to don the Mustang jersey.

 Resendiz said he didn’t have a lot of experience playing the indoor game, and ultimately got his first break playing with the Mustangs NPSL team the previous spring. After that he showed enough confidence at tryouts to merit a look for the indoor game.

 “Our coaching staff was convinced after tryouts that Jose could be a vital piece of our team,” Gamboa said. “We knew him prior to the tryout and saw good qualities in him.”

 This set him up for his biggest challenge of all: Adjusting to speed of the MASL game, while practicing in the shadow the Mustangs’ original keeper Jesus Flores.

 Flores has been with the team since the club’s inception in 2012. In 94 games, he has posted a 62-32 mark, which includes a championship, and playoff MVP honor during the team’s perfect 18-0 season in 2013-14.

 He’s a durable keeper, too. In four years with the Mustangs, the 37-year-old missed just three games, because of injury.

 Resendiz, meanwhile, battled his way to become the backup stopper in his first season in 2016-17. His duties included facing shots from starters in practice and dressing and warming up only for games at the Sears Centre, until January 29, 2017.

On the team’s fourth back-to-back match date, Resendiz was called upon to replace an injured Flores, catching a flight, hours before the Mustangs’ match in Syracuse.

 “I didn’t really expect to play much at the beginning of the season, because it is a whole different game,” Resendiz said. “Flores is a great keeper, look at everything he has done. It is his team. I came in with the mindset of learning from him. I was watching the game and saw him get hurt. I didn’t think it was that serious. But on the plane I was very hyped up and nervous. As a kid you dream of playing professionally.”

 Resendiz went on to appear in two more games and finished his rookie season with a 1-1 record. He totaled 16 saves and nearly 100 minutes.

 He also juggled time with the Chicago Mustangs PASL squad, posting a 8-2-2 mark. He concluded his season on March 19 in the quarterfinals at nationals at the Arizona Sports Complex. The Mustangs were knocked out in a shootout against national runner-up Austin FC.

 Currently, Resendiz approaches his first offseason with the Mustangs with the confidence of keeper with game experience, and far from a player dreaming of going pro.

 A situation that could emerge for another perspective Mustang at this year’s tryout.

 “We are hopeful that this year can produce the same talent that we saw from tryouts last year,” Gamboa said. “In the past players have traveled from all over to compete for a place on our roster.”

Founded in 2012, the Chicago Mustangs compete in the MASL. The Mustangs were the 2014 Ron Newman Cup Champions and 2014 U.S. Open Minifutbol Champions. For tickets visit chicagomustangspro.com, like them on Facebook facebook.com/ChicagoMustangs and follow them on Twitter @MustangsSoccer.