The Xolos and the city of Tijuana lost an iconic figure, as Miguel Herrera was announced as the new manager of Club America on May 30.
“El Piojo” had become the face of the franchise, far more than any player, and he was a celebrity in the city of Tijuana.
Everyone knew who “El Piojo” was, from the most casual fan to the ultras, from my grandmother to my colleagues. People around the city already knew the beautiful Audi the Xolos’ boss would stroll around in. Some people even knew his residence and his favorite spots to eat. Herrera had become one of the most public figures in the border city.
The local and international press loved him for his one-liners at press conferences, that made headlines. The local press will surely miss him, as Herrera made it easy to develop a story from each game with his antics, quotes, and tactics. Apart from his character, the Xolos also lost one of the best managers in the league, as Herrera lead the team to consecutive first-place finishes.
The Mexican manager arrived in Tijuana in November of 2015, when the Xoloitzcuintles had serious problems. The team was not progressing as a franchise, and was closer to relegation than to another title. “El Piojo” himself was not in his best moment, leaving the Mexican national team because of an altercation with a renowned journalist.
The first tournament for the Xolos under Herrera was not ideal as the team finished in fourteenth place with 18 points in the Clausura 2016. It was all uphill from there for the Aztec Canines, as “El Piojo” led Club Tijuana to a first-place finish in the Apertura 2016 and another one in the recent Clausura 2017. The playoffs were not overly successful for the 49-year-old, as the Xolos made a quarter-final exit in the Apertura 2016, and a semi-final exit in the Clausura 2017. “El Piojo” had a successful spell with Club Tijuana, bringing in players like Aviles Hurtado and Guido Rodriguez, and also bringing the best out of players like Paul Arriola and Joe Corona.
His final days at the club were eerie, as it had been made almost official months before the season ended that Miguel Herrera was on his way out of the border city. “El Piojo” still managed to make some serious headlines towards the end of his spell in Tijuana, getting into an altercation with a fan and creating tension with Tigres UANL manager, Ricardo Ferretti. These were the type of antics that the press will surely miss from “Piojo”, but that the team and the fans might be glad to do without. But for most people, it was passable as it was “Piojo” being “Piojo”.
Herrera finished with a 33-18-23 record at Club Tijuana, leaving his mark on the team and the city far more than his actions on the pitch. Fuerza Tijuas!