With Mexico football in tatters, its president aims to return

Jon de Luisa wore a bright green polo shirt for the Mexican national team and an even brighter smile as he entered Bank of California Stadium on Monday, less than two hours before the El Tre women’s team won. Angel City 2-0 at the fair.

He did not look like a man carrying the weight of his country’s World Cup hopes on his shoulders. But then looks can be deceiving. As president of the embattled Mexican football federation, de Luisa is under fire on all sides – not all he deserves – less than three months before his poorly performing men’s team is due to launch in Qatar.

mexico coach, Martino’s nanny, picks the team roster and playing style, and hasn’t done well in either of them lately. Club owners in the country’s major domestic leagues have the final say on the agenda and control of the money chains. De Luisa was left to clean up the mess and explain how it happened.

More recently, he has had a lot to contend with with the Federation in crisis, having lost his identity and his way in the worst of times.

Including age group teams, Mexico has not won any men’s or women’s team titles since the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, its longest drought in 15 years. In July, after Mexico failed to qualify for the men’s and women’s Olympic tournaments in 2024 and the 2023 Women’s World Cup, de Luisa sacked national team manager Ignacio Hierro, and Luis Perez, the under-20 coach, and forced the sports team to resign. Director Gerardo Torrado.

Over the following month, he also fired most of the top coaches on the women’s team, including first national team manager Monica Vergara. Twenty months ago, de Luisa appointed the first female coaches to take charge of Mexico’s top three women’s teams. Two of the three are now gone.

De Luisa admitted on Monday that the timing was not ideal.

“If I could do it again,” he said, “I would do it earlier.” “Ultimately, what we’re doing is designing a stronger sports area within the federation.”

Yon de Luisa, President of the Mexican Football Association.

(repair agency)

He said that before the change, the federation was a very vertical organization, with one person in charge of all the national teams. Under the new structure, former national midfielder Jaime Urdiales will manage the men’s teams, and Andrea Rodbo, who played in Mexico’s first World Cup squad in 1999, will be responsible for the women’s. De Luisa said that Pedro Lopez, who led Spain to win the Women’s Under-20 World Cup last month, will soon appoint Mexico’s national team head coach.

This made Monday’s game, unusual in that it matches a national team against a club team, the interim coach’s final arc. Christopher Cuellar. The win over Angle City – results with an own goal from Megan Reed in the 72nd minute and a left-footed shot from former UC Irvine star Scarlett Camberos after five minutes – was the women’s first in six games dating back to June. . This slip was a huge disappointment for the team that last July entered the World Cup and Olympic qualifiers in Mexico with their best performance in a decade.

A week ago, the Mexican men’s under-20 team was eliminated in the CONCACAF quarter-finals, costing them a place in the Olympics, a tournament they have won twice since 2012. With the alarm sounding, De Luisa can no longer wait to make changes he believes are overdue. A lot already.

former head of America Club And former Televisa Deportes Vice President De Luisa, 52, helped bring the 2026 World Cup to North America as Mexico’s representative on the consolidated file committee. A month later, he was named president of the NFL in transition, brought a new coach to Martino and introduced his first overhaul, which ended last fall with the first rebranding of the federation in 33 years.

Mexico's Scarlett Camberos, second from left, celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal against Angle City.

Mexico’s Scarlett Camberos, second from left, celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal against Angle City.

(Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

An update was necessary, but it didn’t always go well.

“It doesn’t look good for the future,” said one former CEO, who asked not to be named.

It doesn’t look good for the present either. The men’s team has won only one of its last five games, scoring a goal or less in nine of its 13 games this year. With the World Cup in Qatar looming, that’s not encouraging – something Mexico fans admitted when they booed the team off the pitch after their latest loss last week.

“With such a strong and emotional fan base as we have, it’s normal,” De Luisa said. “It’s normal before the World Cup to have that kind of reaction. But it’s not the president of the federation, it’s the whole federation trying to work on our short-term, medium-term and long-term goals.

“We always try to do it to win everything we’re involved in. The Mexican fan base is used to winning streaks, and that’s okay.”

The fan base is also used to getting the team to the knockout stage of the World Cup, something Mexico has done in every tournament they’ve played in since 1978. That streak may end in the fall, after which De Luisa is due to review the performance.

“How does that work is that after every World Cup there is a board meeting where they decide whether to continue or not,” he said.

De Luisa will need a miracle in Qatar to keep his job. However, the changes he made will continue. And this legacy may last longer than memories of the World Cup.