Adrian Ortiz last suited up for the Crusaders during the 2010 season and although that would be his last match as a Crusader, it would not be the last of his career. Ortiz is currently in his second season as a member of the Chicago Mustangs of the Professional Arena Soccer League.
Ortiz signed his first professional contract with the Mustangs midway through the 2012/13 campaign and appeared in ten matches; scoring three goals while adding six assists along the way.
Ortiz credits his experience at Valparaiso for his successful transition from the collegiate to professional ranks.
“My time at Valpo emphasized the definition of a team and what it meant to play as one," said Ortiz. "TS11, which is the foundation of Valparaiso’s program, stresses the importance of family. When I first joined the Mustangs during the middle of 2012/13 season, I carried the TS11 philosophy with me, and that philosophy really contributed to my success. It was ideal because I gelled so perfectly with Coach Armando Gamboa; we both had the same philosophy – play as one.”
Given the impact that Ortiz had on the Mustangs in his first season with the club, both on the field through his impressive play and off of it with his view of the game, it was no surprise that in just his second season with the club, Ortiz was named a team captain prior to the Mustangs first match of the 2013/14 campaign.
With Ortiz captaining the club, the Mustangs are in the midst of a historic unbeaten run. In a season that has been filled with fantastic play, the squad has clinched the Eastern Division with a perfect 15-0 record, secured an automatic bid to the semifinals of the league championship, and are currently in the semifinals of the US Open Cup.
In addition to the leadership he provides as team captain, the play from Ortiz this season has been a key factor during Chicago’s historic run. The second year midfielder has appeared in every match during the 2013/14 campaign, and is sixth on the team in points with 11 goals and eight assists for 19 total points. For Ortiz, the season has been a “dream come true” up to this point.
In light of his recent successes, Ortiz is grateful for the opportunity, the insight, and the lasting relationships that he gained during his time with the Crusaders.
“[Coach Avery] gave me a lot of insight into what being a professional really meant and the work that I put into my time at Valpo really paid off,” said Ortiz. “I came to Valpo as walk-on freshman without any promise of a scholarship, but from day one, [Coach Avery] treated me with fairness and was honest and straightforward with me in terms of his expectations. I knew that I needed to put the work in; not only to earn my position at Valpo, but to work towards playing at the next level.”
“For me personally, [Coach Avery] was a father figure and my teammates were brothers. The program taught me how to play alongside my teammates and battle as brothers on the field; no matter where we came from or our situation.”
Crusader fans can follow Ortiz as he attempts to lead the Mustangs to a league championship by visiting the Mustangs page on the Professional Arena Soccer League website.