Junior Flores - An American Abroad
Herber Omar Mejía Flores, better known as Junior Flores, was born in 1996 in Los Angeles. Since then the American, who is also of El Salvador descent, has come a long way from IMG Bradenton Academics to join Borussia Dortmund as a full player in 2014 - even accepting the exertions of flying back and forth from Germany for nearly two years.
Already in October 2012 it became clear, that Borussia Dortmund were interested in signing one of the most promising American prospects. According to the Washington Post, both parties agreed on “a four-year deal that will go into effect in March 2014, when he turns 18.” It has been said that he even refused offers from Paris and Liverpool, which might have been equivalent to a warm money rain. Due to FIFA statutes and labor law, the 16-year-old had to wait until he turned 18 before moving to Dortmund in spring 2014.
The footballer Junior Flores can be characterized as wide-awake, tricky, fast and agile. His height (169 cm body size) seems to support his style of play. “I wanted this move to Dortmund so badly,” he told Fupa.net. “The level is really high and the players are really well trained in technique as well as physics. The atmosphere within the team is great. They all try to teach me as much German as possible,” he added.
Nevertheless, the adjustment to European circumstances proceeds slowly: “The style of play as well as the physical constitutions are on another level compared to the States,” Flores told Ruhr Nachrichten in July. “We work really hard in training. I need to adapt to it.”
Besides the difficult athletic adaptation, homesickness is also an issue for the 18-year-old, who is miles and miles away from home, family and friends. “It's not easy, but the people have admitted me very well.” Playing for BVB U19 in the “Ruhr International Cup” in July, Flores ought to be a part of BVB U23, who play in Germany's third highest division. By now it seems that his performances in team training as well as matches for BVB U19 were not good enough, to convince the club officials of himself.
Schwatzgelb.com's U23 and youth expert Malte Dürr takes the same line, when talking about the American. “In every match I saw, he was inferior to his teammates and had been replaced at an early stage of the game,” Dürr says. He furthermore suspects, that Flores' U19 playtime is ordered from what he calls “above” [higher club officials].
What is striking, according to Dürr, are the high amount of bad passes as well as the missing contribution to the attacking game. “If Junior Flores would have joined Borussia Dortmund from Bad Sassendorf and not straight from the USA, no one would be interested in him.,” Dürr adds. And here is probably the point of matter: Due to his big move there is a lot of pressure around him, not to mention the pressure he probably puts upon himself.
Nevertheless, it would be unfair to stop counting on an 18-year-old who joined the club as a full member only a few months ago, leaving behind his home as well as his entire friends and family. At this young age development is often wavy, especially in football. Maybe Junior Flores has already recognized the matter by his own, when nearly turning from a highly active social media member to a shadow. Hard work as well as being focused seems to be the main essence at the moment.