Ozzie Ramos made his professional soccer debut in Mexico this past weekend.
Ramos and Atlético Jalisco’s first-division team topped Club Veracruzano de Fútbol Tiburón 3-1 on Saturday during the opening week of Liga de Balompié play.
“It’s a really positive result for the team,” the 2014 Central Valley High School graduate said. “But we can’t be fully satisfied just because we won the first game. The season is very long.”
Ramos, 24, started at center midfielder.
He logged 72 minutes of playing time.
“I’m happy to have taken this step,” Ramos said. “Individually, I showcased what I could do defensively and distributing the ball. I felt really comfortable. Fitness-wise, I was prepared. Game by game, I’ll keep getting better. I know my abilities and what I’m capable of.”
Ramos and his teammates made the 12-hour bus ride from Guadalajara to Xalapa for the season-opener.
“We didn’t use that as an excuse,” he said. “There are going to be things that aren’t ideal.”
Atlético Jalisco will play a total of 34 matches this season.
The regular-season champion will play the winner of a four-team playoff bracket that pits the No. 2, 3, 4 and 5 teams against each other for the overall title.
“I think we’re going to have a good year. It’s a long season. We have to be consistent and execute our game plan every week.”Ozzie Ramos
“We have a strong group,” Ramos said. “I think we’re going to have a good year. It’s a long season. We have to be consistent and execute our game plan every week.”
Ramos was named a starter following the conclusion of Atlético Jalisco’s six-match preseason schedule.
“The coaching staff gave every player an opportunity to play,” he said. “I focused on what I needed to do on the field and during training sessions. I like to do things the right way. I think it impressed the coaches.”
“Every player in the starting lineup has an average of a decade of professional experience besides me,” Ramos added. “I can learn a lot from them.”
Ramos had a successful tryout with Atlético Jalisco in July.
He spent two weeks in Mexico prior to signing a contract.
“My role is important to the team,” Ramos said. “I have to stick to what I know and what I’ve done in the past in terms of being a vocal and proactive player. I’ll do whatever the game demands.”
“I adapted to the lifestyle being out here on my own,” he added. “The culture is different. I’ve been able to fit in off the field. My teammates have made it very easy. They’ve embraced me. I’ve done my part as well.”
Ramos previously suited up for San Diego 1904 FC of the National Independent Soccer Association.
He was supposed to play for 1904 FC this fall but the third-division pro league club canceled its season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“San Diego gave me a platform to perform on the field,” he said. “The pressure to perform day in and day out and wins games, I enjoyed it. I pride myself in being a technical player. I hope to continue taking steps forward.”
Ramos and 1904 FC had their spring campaign cut short because of COVID-19.
Ramos, a second-year team captain, scored one goal in two games.
Ramos signed a contract with San Diego in August of 2019.
He attended a month-long training camp at Southwestern College in Chula Vista prior to earning a roster spot.
A total of 30 players participated.
San Diego posted a 2-0-4 record during the 2019 fall season.
Ramos played for ASC San Diego, an amateur team, in the National Premier Soccer League prior to suiting up for 1904 FC. He filled a major role in leading the amateur team to a 15-6-1 overall record, the West Region title and semifinal appearance in the NPSL Playoffs for the first time.
Ramos collected five goals and four assists while starting at defensive center midfielder.
Ramos spent his first two years of college at San Diego State. He saw action in all 38 of the Aztecs’ games.
He collected two goals, dished out one assist and attempted 39 shots while starting 31 times.
Ramos was voted San Diego State’s top newcomer his freshman year.
Ramos totaled seven assists and one goal during his two-year career with the Seattle University men’s soccer team.
He helped the Redhawks secure a berth to the NCAA Division-I Tournament in 2017. Ramos earned Western Athletic Conference honorable-mention accolades.
Ramos tied for first in California in assists (29) and ranked fifth in goals (31) during his final season of varsity soccer at Central Valley High School. He also claimed the WAC Most Valuable Player award for the second year in a row.
The Hawks posted a program-best 26-2-0 overall record, captured their sixth straight conference title and advanced to the playoffs for the seventh consecutive year.
“I do have long-term goals,” Ramos said while talking about the possibility of playing in MLS or overseas. “I’m ambitious about what I want to accomplish. But it’s a day-by-day thing. I can’t think too far ahead. I can’t change what’s going to happen. I can only be present.”