The defender from La Pampa Eric Jerez is, since this weekend, one of the few footballers who will be able to tell that he was crowned champion and achieved a promotion in the midst of a global pandemic and without an audience in the stands.
Lorca Deportiva, with Jerez in their ranks, got promoted to the Second B of Spain, after tying 1-1 with Atlético Pulpileño in the final match of group XIII of the Third Division contest. The team from the Murcia region, which is owned by the businessman and former Argentine player Hugo Issa, benefited from equality due to having occupied the first place in the general table of the competition, before it was interrupted last March. due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Jerez, born from El Recreo de Santa Rosa and passing through Vélez Sársfield, yesterday showed his happiness at the achievement achieved and at the same time highlighted the vicissitudes that they had to overcome in a strange season, with a change of owner in the club after a few first months with serious economic difficulties and with a definition affected by Covid-19.
Jerez, 25, arrived at Lorca Deportiva in July 2019 looking for the continuity that he did not have in Vélez, the team in which he debuted in the First Division in February 2015, led by Miguel Russo, in a victory against Aldosivi for 2-0 at José Amalfitani.
After some experiences in the Argentine promotion (he played the Nacional B in Guaraní Antonio Franco de Misiones and the Primera B in Atlanta), the young man from Santa Rosa made the jump to Europe last year and his first experience was successful. Although not easy at all.
“It was a long, complicated, rare year …”, he tried to define the left back in a talk with LA CHUECA after the consecration. “From the beginning of the season a lot happened. We were four or five months without payment and we had a bad time, “said Jerez, referring to the breaches of the previous owners of the institution.
“Afterwards these people left and we were awhile without knowing what was going to happen, until halfway through the season Issa arrived and changed everything. He gave us an important hand, supported us and that is why he has a lot to do with this achievement, “he stressed.
– And then the pandemic …
– Yes, when everything stopped, ten dates were missing to finish, we were first and with a three point advantage over the second, which was Atlético Pulpileño. It was another hard blow because we were coming very well, but the players were still focused on the goal and we did it.
– How was the wait for the resumption of the tournament?
– Very long. The worst thing is that we did not know how the tournament was going to be defined and that worried us, in addition to the whole issue of health. Meanwhile we continue training, the teacher sent us the work and we did it in the department. It was not easy, but we knew we had to be patient because it was something that was affecting everyone.
A great club.
After the pandemic, the Third Division of Spain ended the regular stage, awarding first place to Lorca Deportiva, so that only the playoffs were left to play for promotion to the Second B (third category), which the team of Pampas ended up winning after two draws and asserting his sports advantage.
“As we were first when everything stopped, on the return they finally gave us the champions of the first half and we made a home run in which we played the first four for promotion. In the semifinal we tied 0-0 with Mazarrón FC and we passed because we had an advantage because we were first. And in the final we returned to draw (1-1) with the Pulpileño and we also favored the sports advantage, “said Jerez referring to the two post-pandemic games that, without an audience in the stands, allowed him to reach the goal in his first year in Europe.
«It was the first time that I left Argentina and I came to Europe for a dream, without knowing the category or anything. But I trusted my representative and I was not disappointed, because I found a great club despite the first months with the other owners, “explained Jerez.
Lorca Deportiva was refounded in 2012 (before it was Lorca Atlético), it is the second time that he has risen to the Second B (previously he was in the 2017-2018 season) and, in addition to Jerez, he has in his ranks Santa Fe defender Tomás Baroni, Atlético de Rafaela.
“It is a club that always aspires to be higher, for the facilities it has and for the people it always accompanies. The city also needed to have a team in Segunda B (the other is Lorca Fútbol Club, which is in Tercera); that is why this season a large investment was made, assembling an important squad with good salaries, and the objective was achieved, “said Jerez with pride.
– How is the category?
– It is a competitive category, hard, with difficult courts because in some cases they are synthetic. In our case we made a lot of difference at home because we played in a field that has the conditions of a First Division.
– Are you going to stay at the club or do you have another idea for next season?
– I can continue another year in the club, but it depends on the idea and the expectations of the president. The truth is that I would like to stay in Lorca because I am comfortable, calm, adapted to the club and the city. And now very happy for what we accomplished. It was not easy to come at the time, but I decided because it was a good opportunity to go making my name in Europe. And we ended up being champions and achieving promotion.
Emotion at a distance.
Eric Jerez is one of the many talents from the Pampas that emerged from the hand of Alberto «Beto» Ramírez at the El Recreo Club in Santa Rosa. At age 11 he went to Vélez to complete his training and reach the First Division, but he never forgot his origins. And in full celebration for the promotion achieved with Lorca Deportiva, one of the first that was agreed is from Beto, who now resides in Neuquén.
«My best memories are from El Recreo. So when we ascended, from the same court I called Beto to tell him and we were excited together, “said the 25-year-old from Spain yesterday.
«El Beto feels this achievement as I do; he is always following my career and encouraging me. I appreciate him very much and I know he was excited just like me. And El Recreo is also everything for me; I will never forget my beginnings there, “added Jerez, who has her relatives in Santa Rosa.
“I want to travel to go see my family, but the situation is not easy due to the pandemic and we will see these days if I can travel or stay here,” closed the side, which if it continues in Lorca will begin in September preseason ahead of the 2020/21 season in the Second B.
Lorca is a city in the Murcia region, in the south-east of Spain, where the coronavirus pandemic did not affect as much as in other cities in the Iberian territory where it caused thousands of deaths. “Fortunately there were few cases here, it was lived in a calm way because people respected what was asked for a lot,” said Eric Jerez yesterday, who lives in an apartment with his Belgian partner Elyakim Musoni. “Now we are practically doing normal life; you just have to keep your distance and wear a mask, and that is highly respected, “he added.