When Richie Ledezma completed off his current standout efficiency for Jong PSV against Jong AZ, which incorporated two ambitions and an help, he figured to hear lots of congratulatory messages.
One particular of the initial came in particular person, in his locker area, from an enthusiastic former coach who couldn’t wait to let Ledezma know how satisfied he was.
“Dale cabron” mentioned Ruud Van Nistelrooy, the Dutch legend and PSV U-19 coach who was Ledezma’s initial coach at the Dutch powerhouse, as he enthusiastically congratulated his former player. Van Nistelrooy has lengthy been a believer in Ledezma’s high-quality, and also knew complete properly what the young American had endured in the previous year to get to that point.
A year ago, Ledezma was a young American prospect nevertheless unsure exactly where his experienced profession would start. A skilled attacking midfielder capable of playing as a quantity 10 or quantity eight, Ledezma was torn involving signing with Genuine Salt Lake as the team’s newest academy item, or pursuing his dream of succeeding in Europe. Ledezma at some point chose Europe and PSV, but a cruel twist of fate threatened to ruin the plans.
Shortly immediately after reaching a handshake agreement with PSV to sign with the club in the winter, Ledezma returned to Phoenix eager to get started functioning on his game so he would be prepared for the move.
“I got back from the Netherlands, from my trial, and I went to the park,” Ledezma told SBI. “They mentioned I need to have to function on my left foot so certainly I’m going to function on my left foot, so I went to the park with my dad and I was just functioning on my left foot. I planted my foot to shoot with my left, and I planted my ideal foot and it just type of twisted. I was nevertheless superior, nevertheless operating, and immediately after a even though I believed some thing does not really feel ideal.
“Then immediately after 20 minutes I couldn’t really feel my ideal foot, like some thing was incorrect,” Ledezma mentioned. “So I went straight to the emergency area and they told me I had a fracture on my foot.”
At that point in his profession Ledezma hadn’t endured any sort of lengthy-term injury, so the uncertainty of a broken foot left him worried that the future he had lined up at PSV would fall apart.
“I was seriously scared simply because it was 100 % that I was going to sign, but just before I got injured,” Ledezma mentioned. “But (PSV) had been seriously good about it, and they mentioned ‘We nevertheless want you”, but I was scared that I wouldn’t be the similar I guess. I’d under no circumstances got injured that terrible, even even though it wasn’t that terrible, but that lengthy.”
Ledezma wound up spending seven months on the sidelines, a period of time that incorporated the Concacaf Beneath-20 Championships, a tournament he had been anticipated to star in for the United States. U.S. coach Tab Ramos had lengthy been touting Ledezma as a single of the very best players on his group, but the broken foot left Ledezma out, leaving him to watch the tournament through on-line stream.
Ledezma had lots of explanation to celebrate when the U.S. U-20s won the Concacaf title, and certified for the Planet Cup. It gave him a new target to shoot for.
“When we certified for the Planet Cup I was satisfied, but then I believed ‘Oh shoot, I’ve got to step up simply because now there’s players in my position who could take my spot easily’,” Ledezma mentioned.
The emergence of central midfielders Brandon Servania and Frankie Amaya, along with the star performances by Alex Mendez, all of a sudden left Ledezma a bit of a forgotten piece to the U.S. Beneath-20 puzzle, but it also served to motivate him as he pushed to make it back in time for the Beneath-20 Planet Cup.
There was nevertheless the matter of recovering from the foot injury. Ledezma spent 3 additional months sidelined, unable to even kick a ball. He credits Van Nistelrooy with assisting preserve him focused and engaged by means of the emotionally-taxing approach.
“He would motivate me, push me, and he would inform me ‘be patient. your time will come’,” Ledezma mentioned.
Ledezma at some point recovered sufficient to play for PSV’s Beneath-19 group, with Van Nistelrooy generating him a starter and instilling self-assurance in the young playmaker, who admits now to getting been shocked by how the former Manchester United star embraced his game.
“I just didn’t consider he’d accept me to the group that quickly. He trusted me,” Ledezma mentioned. “He was like ‘You can play football. You have that Mexican flair.’ That got me motivated to show him that I do.”
Ledezma rewarded that faith by scoring the initial time Van Nistelrooy began him, which also occurred to come ideal just before Ramos announced his roster for the Beneath-20 Planet Cup. It was no assure Ledezma would make that group, but Ramos chosen him, even even though it was clear he wasn’t close to 100 % however.
“It was an remarkable feeling, even just having on the 20-man roster,” Ledezma mentioned. “I seriously worked tough simply because I seriously wanted to go to the Planet Cup. That was my major purpose final season, to go to the U-20 Planet Cup.
“Even even though I didn’t play that numerous minutes, I believed I played properly,” Ledezma mentioned. “It was a seriously superior feeling, My loved ones went to go watch. It was superior to see they had been out there supporting me and I was generating them proud.”
Ledezma started the tournament on the bench, playing sparingly in the group stage, but Ramos turned to Ledezma in the greatest match of the Planet Cup, the Round of 16 clash against tournament favored France.
“At initial when he mentioned I was beginning, I was nervous certainly simply because it is a massive stage,” Ledeza mentioned. “It felt remarkable. I was turning on individuals, carrying out what I utilized to do. It felt superior becoming out there on the field. It was possibly my fourth or third game back, so it felt seriously superior.
“At halftime I was dead. I even told Tab, and he mentioned ‘Can you give me 15 additional minutes’ and I mentioned ‘of course’.”
Ledezma shined on the massive stage, playing properly against the higher-powered France group, delivering an help on the U.S. team’s initial purpose in an eventual three-two upset victory, and displaying why he had been such a very-regarded prospect just before the foot injury.
Richard Ledesma and Sebastian Soto combined for the USA’s opening purpose in their Round of 16 game against U-20 Planet Cup favorites France.
It is at present 1-1 at halftime. Do not miss the second half Reside on FS2! pic.twitter.com/rykdFBpjfY
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 4, 2019
Ledezma’s Beneath-20 Planet Cup efficiency was a higher point for him, but his concentrate swiftly turned to returning to PSV and his subsequent purpose, generating his initial-group debut. He has currently produced the move from the U-19 group to becoming element of PSV’s second group, the Dutch second division side Jong PSV.
Significantly like his initial get started for PSV’s U-19s, Ledezma marked his initial get started with Jong PSV by scoring, only this time he netted two ambitions along with delivering an help on September 13th, just a week immediately after his 19th birthday.
The highlight of the month wasn’t that standout efficiency even though, it was when Ledezma was moved to the PSV initial group for a friendly against FC Cologne.
“My initial touch of the game, I lost (the ball). I was seriously nervous,” Ledezma told SBI. “It was shocking playing against initial group players, but immediately after a even though I began having rhythm and get counters in. (PSV manager Mark van Bommel) essentially place me at my position so he trusted me.
“My purpose is certainly to make my debut in the Eredivisie so that was a superior knowledge for me.”
Ledezma will also be hoping to have his play attract the focus of U.S. Beneath-23 national group coach Jason Kreis. Ledezma wasn’t element of the U-23 team’s most current camp, a reality that he admits he wasn’t satisfied about, but a single he admits to getting motivated him heading into his current powerful run with Jong PSV.
“I was a small disappointed, but it occurs. You are not usually going to get what you want,” mentioned Ledezma. “I attempted to place myself out there on Friday, so now I’m attempting to place myself out there the subsequent game, and preserve going. this month is a seriously massive month.”
Ledezma lately produced headlines when he revealed to SBI that the Mexican Federation had reached out to him about potentially representing Mexico. He has not ruled out the possibility of playing for Mexico, but admits to nevertheless becoming eager to earn his subsequent U.S. contact-up, potentially in October with the U-23 group.
Soon after the lengthy injury ordeal he endured to get started the year, Ledezma is lastly back to complete fitness, as evidenced by the consecutive 90-minute performances he turned in with Jong PSV final week, such as a complete match against Jong Ajax and fellow Americans Alex Mendez and Joshua Pynadath.
Ledezma is back to his very best, only now he is additional mature and additional determined immediately after what he has currently had to endure. His current performances recommend he is prepared to understand the prospective that has had coaches from Ruud Van Nistelrooy to Tab Ramos raving about him all this time.