One of the major additions for the San Diego Loyal this offseason was midfielder Joe Corona, who is set to be one of the key players for his hometown team. The 32-year-old has a wealth of experience to offer for Nate Miller’s team, along with his presence in the middle of the park.
Corona was born in Los Angeles but has lived most of his life in San Diego, attending Sweetwater High School and San Diego State University. The former Aztec is well-known in the region as he also played with Liga MX’s Tijuana Xolos from 2010 to 2019. During that spell, Corona was sent on loan to Dorados de Sinaloa, Veracruz, and Club America, but he did accumulate nearly 200 appearances with Club Tijuana.
The Mexican-Salvadorian-American midfielder played a key role in Tijuana’s promotion season to the Liga MX in 2011 and in the 2012 Apertura-winning team. Corona was also part of Club America’s 2018 Apertura-winning team under manager Miguel Herrera.
The San Diego native has also amassed a decorated career with the United States men’s national team, winning two Gold Cup titles in 2013 and 2017. After his career in Mexico, Corona returned to American soccer, playing with MLS’ Los Angeles Galaxy and Houston Dynamo. The former Xolos midfielder received plenty of playing time in MLS but made a surprising move to the Swedish Allsvenskan with GIF Sunsvall.
Corona was a consistent starter with Sunsvall, but the Allsvenskan is not a league that attracts a whole lot of attention from media or scouts. The 32-year-old now returns home with the San Diego Loyal in the USL Championship and will clearly have a fantastic opportunity to return to the MLS or Liga MX by the end of the season.
In the meantime, Corona has a golden opportunity to serve as a leader on the Loyal and play a more offensive role than he has played in the last few seasons. Corona has some potent offensive qualities, like his playmaking ability and his shooting, which has been on display in several occasions in his career.
However, the experienced midfielder can also help the backline with his ball-recovery skills, as he is a box-to-box midfielder. Corona has demonstrated throughout his extensive career that he is a team player, and he does not mind doing the defensive duties on the pitch.
Corona has also previously worked with Chula Vista, Calif. native Alejandro Guido at Club Tijuana, as the pair have chemistry, and it will be interesting to see if Nate Miller uses the pairing throughout the season. Corona was one of the best signings in the USL this offseason, even moreso given the circumstances, as he has the potential to improve his hometown team.
Corona and the Loyal begin their season this Saturday, March 11, 2023, as the SD Loyal host Detroit City FC at Torero Stadium.
Francisco, 26, Chula Vista/Tijuana. I have been a Padres fan all my life, did most of the series previews and recaps in the Padres’ 2016 season for EVT. Now I focus more on the local soccer scene. Tijuana Xolos, San Diego Loyal, San Diego Wave.