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PLAYER UPDATE: Josue Soto Settling Into Role at Queretaro
Josue Soto struggled to find playing time early in the season for Queretaro U-20, locked behind a first team player in the depth chart while adjusting to a new position. Now, gaining the coaching staff’s trust, Josue has finally found his role and is seeing minutes.    

As the U-20 Premier League season in Mexico reaches its halfway point for the Apertura, Josue Soto is seeing his role with Queretaro increase.

After successfully trialing with the club over the summer, Josue signed with the Queretaro U-20s, and began a conversion from midfield to left back, spearheaded by Pumas legends and former Mexican National Team players Jaime Lozano and Gerardo Galindo. Combining for almost 400 Pumas appearances and over 300 appearances with other clubs in Mexico’s top flight, along with 44 National Team caps, the coaching duo has taken Josue under their wing to convert him into a “wow” professional player.

Josue’s first minutes with the club came not with the U-20 team, but with Queretaro II, the first team’s reserve squad for a tournament in Colima, Mexico. It was there that Josue saw his first 90-minute appearance, playing in the tournament final against Chivas Rayadas, the reserve squad for the legendary C.D. Guadalajara.

Since then, Josue saw himself stuck in the depth chart for the U-20s, sitting behind first team defender Kevin Gutierrez. He was not traveling with the team to away games, and had not been able to dress for home games either. At seven games into the season, Josue had the potential to get frustrated. He continued to work though, knowing that his time would come once the staff saw a continuous level in practice that enabled them to trust him in a game.

Following a midweek scrimmage against Queretaro’s first team, in which Josue was tasked with marking legendary Brazilian-Mexican midfielder Antonio “Sinha” Naelson, he of 517 Toluca appearances, 59 Mexican National Team appearances and a 2006 World Cup veteran and goalscorer.

Josue did well in his matchup, and it proved to be a potential turning point for the final few months of 2015. The following weekend, he was named to the match day 18 for a home game against Morelia. Josue finally earned a nod from Lozano and Galindo to make his debut, and came on in the 86th minute to get his professional career underway.

The next step was being named to the match day 18 for a big away game against Chivas this past weekend. Continuing to work hard in training and continuing to show that he could consistently perform at the level required of him saw him rewarded with his second call up.

It was going to be a tough game from the start; The Chivas U-20 team was laboring in last place in the standings, and had dropped down seven first team players for the game. Josue started on the bench, and Chivas came out swinging, taking a 3-0 lead into halftime.

It was at that moment when Josue saw his place in the team get solidified a little bit more. He was called first off the bench after Chivas knocked in a fourth goal just after the re-start, and entered the game at the 49th minute.

While the result wasn’t favorable for Queretaro, who saw their lead in the standings drop to third place, it showed that Josue is indeed on the rise, and starting to get positive attention and reviews for his quiet, humble persona and hard working attitude.

The next step is going to be making his third consecutive appearance for Gallos Blancos as they face bottom-dwelling Leon at home. If that third appearance is indeed in order, it will show that Josue is making himself known as a permanent fixture for the U-20s, and that first team training opportunities could be just around the corner. After that, who knows?

At 19-years old and less than a year removed from a sterling freshman season at California Baptist University, Josue’s future is indeed burning bright.