Copa América Centenario: 17 Things To Know About Mexico's Javier 'Chicharito' Hernández

Chicharito
Javier "Chicharito" Hernández celebrates after scoring a goal against the United States during the first half of a 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup Qualifier at the Rose Bowl on October 10, 2015 in Pasadena, California. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Copa América Centario kicks off on June 3, which means the world’s best soccer players will be invading the U.S. for the next 23 days.

This year, the tournament will include the participation of 16 teams: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, United States, Venezuela and Mexico.

Representing Mexico is one of the most valuable players in the fútbol scene at the moment, Javier “Chicharito” Hernández.

“I like to breathe, eat and talk about football,” the 28-year-old forward said during a recent interview with Sports Illustrated. “And I’m a cheeky player. I try to be there, and there, and there. And if you’re standing up, I’ll make it look like I’m moving this way – and then I move that way.”

Before tuning in to watch “Chicharito’s” cheeky ways on the field during this year’s Copa América, make sure you read these fun facts about the soccer superstar who thought about quitting the sport at age 17.

Can you imagine a world without “Chicharito”? We certainly can’t!

17 things to know about Javier “Chicharito” Hernández:

1) He was born on June 1, 1988. He is a Cancer.

2) His nickname, “El Chicharito,” means “the little pea.” It is a diminutive form of the nickname given to his father Javier Hernández Gutiérrez, who was known as “El Chicharo” (the pea) in reference to his physical features (short with green eyes).

3) He joined C.D. Guadalajara at the age of nine and signed his first professional contract when he was 15.

4) He featured only fleetingly for Chivas (C.D. Guadalajara) after joining their first team in 2006 and doubts were raised about his future.

5) He wanted to retire at age 17 after not making it to the 2005 U-17 World Cup Mexican squad.

6) His goal celebration, forming a “C” with his hand and raising it up, means he is dedicating the score to his sister, Ana Silvia, with whom he is very close to. The letter stands for “Chimol,” his sister’s nickname.

7) His idols growing up were Hugo Sánchez and Rafael Márquez.

8) He made his debut on El Tri, nickname for Mexico’s National team, in 2009.

9) In 2010, he was elected FIFA World Cup’s fastest player at 19.97 mph.

10) During the same tournament, he scored against France just like his grandfather, Tomás Balcázar, did in the 1954 World Cup officiated in Switzerland.

11) He became the first Mexican player to appear in a UEFA Champions League final in his debut season for Manchester United.

12) He was the Gold Cup’s top scorer with seven goals and was named most valuable player of the tournament.

13) He currently plays for Bayer Leverkusen, where he has reportedly scored 22 goals during his first season with the club.

14) He is a UNICEF ambassador.

15) He had to decide between playing at Copa América Centenario or the Rio 2016 Olympics.

16) He is on track to become Mexico’s all-time leading goal scorer this year. 

17) He is taken. Sorry ladies!

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Janel Saldana

Janel Saldana joined the Latin Times family in March 2015. She graduated from Texas Christian University and UDLAP (Universidad de las Américas Puebla) with a Bachelor's degree in Communications and Radio, TV and Film production. After spending years traveling the world and living abroad, Janel decided to settle in New York and call it home. She is most passionate about traveling, entertainment in all its forms and animal advocacy, especially dogs.