De La Cerda says “no pro,” returns to NIU

By Mike Buda

Playing professional sports is a dream of kids all over the world, but only a few get to live out those ambitions.

Former NIU men’s soccer midfielder Luis De La Cerda got to live out his dream this past year with Reboceros De La Piedad in the Liga de Ascenso, Mexico’s second division.

The Guadalajara native grew up wanting to play for Chivas, but after leaving DeKalb, his connections could only get him tryouts with a few teams, including Reboceros De La Piedad.

His first tryout went so well that they invited him onto the team and the boyhood dream came true, which he was prepared for thanks to his time at NIU.

“I thought the level over there, soccer-wise, was definitely higher than college soccer, but fitness-wise and organizational-wise, it was about the same,” De La Cerda said. “NIU definitely prepared me for the next level and I think they’re preparing a lot of players nowadays.”

The former Huskie was well-adjusted to what was on the field and also didn’t take long to adjust to what waited for him when he stepped off the pitch.

“It was actually an amazing time because all we had to do was practice once, maybe twice a day sometimes and then we would have the whole day completely off to ourselves,” De La Cerda said. “We actually had a paid house, paid food and a maid and a cook so we really didn’t have to do anything at all.”

Everything was going well for De La Cerda, but his playing time irked him and his time in Mexico came to an end.

“I was expected to play a good amount of time, to be scouted by first division teams and then possibly go into one of those teams,” De La Cera said. “But since I didn’t play as much as I expected, I faced the decision as to whether I was going to stay another season or come back to finish college because I only had one semester left. So I decided that the smartest thing to do was come back, finish college and then try to see if I play for another season come January.”

De La Cerda is now back in DeKalb finishing out his last semester with a major in finance and a minor in math. After graduation, his plans are to find a job in his major field and if nothing happens with that, he’ll go back to Mexico to continue his dream.