Problems for young players in Europe 

June, 26, 2012
06/26/12
11:41
AM ET

Plenty of high-profile players changed sides in the recent Mexican league draft, but one of the more meaningful moves was a little more under the radar. Closely dissected, Tigres' capture of former U-20 international Taufic Guarch on a one-year loan from Estudiantes raises some questions about the future of young Mexican players moving abroad.

On the surface, it's a great move for a talented, young Mexican forward. With Hector Mancilla on his way to Guadalajara, Guarch should get the chance to play alongside his U-20 teammate Alan Pulido. It looks to be a great opportunity for the young duo to progress on the field and should be exciting for Tigres and Mexico fans alike.

So everything looks bright, except for one little detail -- 20-year-old Guarch is returning from a brief and what would have to be labeled unsuccessful stint in Europe, where a discreet season in the Spanish fourth division at Espanyol B meant a move back to Mexico would be his best chance for playing time.

It's a conundrum young Mexicans and veterans alike have faced in Europe of late. The list of Mexicans falling out of form on the benches of the Old Continent is nearly as long as that of Mexicans who have tried moves abroad of late. Efrain Juarez, Nery Castillo and Antonio Pedroza have also returned (or depending on how you look at it, been returned) this summer. Pablo Barrera could well be next.

While the failures to catch on abroad of some Mexico's full national team players certainly have their explanations, the plights of Mexico's youths abroad may be cause for more concern. Guarch's return after just a year in Europe equals a conservative bet to boost a quickly flagging but still promising career. At Tigres, he'll get the attention his talent calls for, and a chance to move forward. In Spain, there was no such guarantee; getting lost in a numbers game was always a possibility.

Brent Latham is a soccer commentator who covers the youth national teams for ESPN.com. Based in Guatemala, he has attended youth World Cups from Peru to Egypt, and places in between.

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