Ozzie Ramos’ first season as a professional soccer player in Mexico came to an abrupt end last month.
The 2014 Central Valley High School grad returned to the United States after the Jalisco-based club he signed a one-year contract with this summer ceased operations.
“It had nothing to do with me as a player or person,” he said. “The club was looking for new sponsorship and ownership. It didn’t pan out. I’m definitely bummed. I was supposed to be there until June.”
The club formerly named Atlético Jalisco played just three games during its inaugural season in Liga de Balompié.
Jalisco compiled a 1-1-1 record.
“The experience on and off the field not related to the ownership group was positive,” Ramos said. “I learned a ton. I made a lot of friendships.”
League officials removed the team’s ownership group in October after they failed to pay its players. The punishment took place after Ramos and his teammates complained.
“We had the courage to stand up for ourselves,” he said. “Usually, ownership controls what happens.”
Ramos and Jalisco played their final game on Oct. 31. Club Chapulineros de Oaxaca prevailed, 3-1.
“It was a difficult week for us,” Ramos said. “The game was the last thing on our mind. It’s hard for players to be 100 percent focused on a match when there are financial problems. It’s been stressful not being paid for what you work for. I look at my teammates and it’s worse for them. They have families and kids to support. We’re all here because we love the game.”
Ramos started at center midfielder for all three of Jalisco’s matches.
He collected one assist.
Jalisco was supposed to play a total of 34 matches during the regular season.
Ramos had a successful tryout with Atlético Jalisco in July.
He spent two weeks in Mexico prior to signing a contract.
Ramos previously suited up for San Diego 1904 FC of the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA).
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.
Ramos and 1904 FC also 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.
Ramos is looking forward to beginning the next chapter of his soccer career.
He could return to NISA or play in the United Soccer League (USL) in the near future.
“I’m not sure where my next club will be,” he said. “I’m in communication with a few people. I just have to get my foot in somewhere. I’m definitely hungry. It’s a beautiful game. It’s one I enjoy.”
Ramos talked about the possibility of playing in MLS or overseas.
“I’m confident it will happen,” he said. “I’m 24. My best soccer years are to come. They’re not behind me. I have to put myself in front of the right eyes.”