1676661143 Mexican Julian Araujo is set to defend the US pawns

Mexican Julián Araujo is set to defend the US pawns behind Barcelona

Mexican soccer player Julián Araujo during his presentation with FC Barcelona this Friday.Mexican soccer player Julián Araujo during his presentation with FC Barcelona this Friday SARA GORDON (FC BARCELONA)

When Julián Araujo came home after training, his father was exhausted. Jorge Araujo spent almost endless days in the fields of Lompoc, California. Due to routine, there was practically no contact between father and son. Jorge left Guanajuato at the age of 15 to cross the border and settle in the US with minimal working conditions and undocumented. Along with Guadalupe, his wife, they stayed stoic to raise a family with three children. Little Julián chose football, the king of sports in Mexico. He started out in the kids leagues until he broke into a Barça academy.

The Catalan team had a small version of La Masia in Arizona. Spectators attracted Araujo and even offered him a trip to Barcelona to enter the historic football player factory. However, the winger continued training in the United States until the MLS Galaxy signed him in 2018. This opened the doors for him in the youth teams of the United States. The Mexican memory was at home with his parents, who made the work in the strawberry field their basis for progress and also became a flag for Julián Araujo. “It worked crouched all day,” Jorge Araujo told Telemundo. Araujo has supported the farming community in Lompoc during the toughest months of the pandemic, raising his voice to demand more labor rights. “He says that when he has more opportunities, he wants to start a committee so that Mexican farmers or other nationalities get paid honestly,” his mother, Guadalupe, told ESPN.

Araujo, now 21, made his First Division debut in the United States in 2019. There he met other Mexicans like Jonathan Dos Santos and Javier Chicharito Hernández. At the same time, he continued to climb the ranks on the US teams and qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. In 2021, the Mexican Federation began attracting Araujo. Tata Martino first had to be persuaded to give him a chance and he played 90 minutes in a friendly against Chile in Texas. He would play another full game in the Nations League and his first official game was against Panama in qualifiers. For the World Cup in Qatar, Martino relinquished him along with other promising Mexicans like Santiago Giménez (Feyenoord) and Diego Lainez (Tigres).

On the transfer market, Barcelona tried to sign the Mexican this winter but did so at the last minute. So much so that the footballer’s pass was delayed 18 seconds after closing. Barcelona said it was a computer error and appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. This Friday Barcelona officially announced their arrival for the next three and a half seasons, that is until June 2026, the year in which the World Cup will be hosted in the United States, Mexico and Canada. Araujo initially moves to Barcelona subsidiary Barça Atlètic, which is managed by his compatriot Rafa Márquez.

“It’s a dream come true, I want to be a role model for future generations. These weeks have been long but I’m here now, in the best team in the world,” Araujo commented this Friday. The pink-haired Mexican joins the small group of compatriots who arrived in Barcelona as brothers Dos Santos and Márquez The signing of Julián Araujo marks a triumph for the Mexican-American community in world football so far.

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