Photo by Max Becherer/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. — Bryan Arguez has a lot to be excited about these days.
In the past two months, Arguez has gone from playing in the NASL with the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, to getting signed by the Montreal Impact, to getting called into his first camp with the U.S. Under-23 men's national team.
It has been a run of good fortune for the 22-year-old Arguez, who has endured his share of disappointments, but it's also been a process that has made him more appreciative and hungry.
"It's been exciting to go from where I was in the beginning at the highest level, going down to NASL and now getting another opportunity," said Arguez, whose nickname is Mooki. "I'm excited about it, and I'm excited to take advantage of every opportunity I get."
One of the opportunities Arguez has received in recent weeks is the move to Montreal. That came about when head coach Jesse Marsch — who was at the U.S. U-23 men's national team's practice on Tuesday, and will be for the remainder of the camp — attended a Strikers game earlier this year to mainly observe Strikers forward Gerson Mayen.
Arguez did enough in the game, however, to catch Marsch's eye, with that eventually leading to him being signed by the expansion club on Nov. 25.
If that wasn't enough good news, what came next surely was. A couple of weeks after signing with the Impact, Arguez received a call-up to the U-23 camp by head coach Caleb Porter, a call that cemented his return to the U.S. program.
Seeing Arguez's name on the roster after he had practically vanished from the U.S. youth national team set-up was surprising to some, but Arguez has made the most of his chance so far. He's looked solid in camp in his defensive midfield role, breaking up attacks and linking up with attackers while also showing his usual grit in the center of the field.
Regardless, Arguez, who last played for a U.S. youth team at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup, still has stiff competition to make the roster that will attempt to qualify for the Olympics in March.
"It's a higher level than what I've been used to in the past year, but it's been good," said Arguez. "I've been adapting to it pretty well. It's challenging my ability to play soccer, and it's making me a better player."
The Impact will be hoping that's the case as they enter their first season in MLS in 2012. While not completely new to the league, Arguez will have to adjust as he's never played in an MLS match. He was drafted by D.C. United in 2007, but he didn't make any league appearances in his only year in MLS prior to trying his hand in Europe.
Arguez is eager to take on that challenge, though there's one that he's been pleased to have avoided thus far.
"I'm pretty excited about the fact that we're not going to have be (in Montreal) the first two months (of the year) because it's freezing," said Arguez. "I'm pretty excited about going to Mexico, L.A. and Orlando with the team, and probably even Vancouver. Then (go back) when it's more of my temperature, because I'm more of a Miami guy. I'm excited."
Should Arguez continue to ride the wave of good fortune as well as he has in the past couple of months, then there's likely a lot more excitement to be had, both at the club and international levels.