U.S. keeper William Yarbrough vows to win back Club Leon place
MORELIA, Mexico -- Club Leon edged to an epic 4-3 victory against Morelia in the Liga MX Apertura championship on Saturday, but United States international goalkeeper William Yarbrough again had to settle for watching from the bench.
Yarbrough has not featured for Juan Antonio Pizzi's side in the Liga MX since he returned from Gold Cup duty with the U.S.
"It's always disappointing," the 26-year-old told ESPN FC after the game. "You always want to play, but you just have to be a good teammate."
Aguascalientes-born Yarbrough said he did not know the reason why experienced veteran Christian Martinez had taken his place this season.
"It is difficult, but this is where you have to show exactly how strong you are," he added. "Right now, this is the moment that I've got to be stronger than I've ever been."
Yarbrough's rise to Club Leon poster-boy -- along with Carlos "Gullit" Pena, Luis Montes and Mauro Boselli -- through winning historic back-to-back championships was meteoric.
Then came the U.S. national team callup in April, bringing with it increased interest on both sides of the border, with the dual national eligible and seemingly in contention for Mexico and the Stars and Stripes.
Being relegated to the bench for his club is a setback Yarbrough is determined to recover from.
"I've always had a strong mind and now is the time to be humble, take things the way they are and work harder than ever," he said.
And he explained that playing or being in the U.S. squad to face Mexico in the Oct. 10 Confederations Cup playoff is a "big motivation" after spending the summer under coach Jurgen Klinsmann's tutelage in the run to the Gold Cup semifinal.
"It was an amazing experience," added Yarbrough, the son of Texan migrants to Mexico. "It's helped me grow as an athlete, mature and helped me to see different things that you don't usually see at your club."
But before that important game comes around and he can begin to think about challenging established U.S. keepers Brad Guzan and Tim Howard, Yarbrough knows he needs to be back in goal for La Fiera as soon as possible.
"I've got to focus on what I have to do here [in Mexico] first," he said.