San Diego Sockers 1980 Hugo Sanchez

Hugo Sanchez.  Legend.

His skills earned him the nickname Niño de Oro (Golden Boy), a place in the Mexican squad for the 1976 Olympics, and a contract with university club Pumas UNAM, with whom he won the league in 1976/77, when he was 18. In 1979, UNAM agreed to exchange players during the off-seasons with the San Diego Sockers of the North American Soccer League. He played in the NASL during the summer and in the Mexican league during the fall, winter and spring. UNAM loaned Sánchez to the Sockers in 1979 and 1980 where he became a dominant striker for the Sockers, averaging nearly a goal a game.
Sanchez was peculiarly suited to the chilena, the most flamboyant method of goalscoring. He seemed to be able to move – and adjust – his body in the air at will. That strength probably owed something to a childhood in which he trained hard as a gymnast. The apparently effortless somersaults with which he celebrated every goal reflected that training – and honoured his sister, a gymnast who represented Mexico at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.


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