Strykers Add Former Mexico International Miguel Ponce

by Gunnar Berndt

Olympic gold medalist reunites with long-time teammate Marco Fabián

Ontario, Calif. — The Empire Strykers have signed former Mexico and Chivas de Guadalajara ace Miguel Ponce through the 2024-25 Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) season. The blockbuster move sees the 34-year-old reunite with long-time teammate Marco Fabián. In addition to both being Chivas legends, Ponce and Fabián have a shared history of representing Mexico, including as members of the 2012 Olympic gold medal-winning squad and the side that reached the knockout rounds of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. 

As per team and league policies, financial terms of Ponce's contract with the Strykers were not disclosed.

“I didn’t think I would play with Marco again, so I was excited when he invited me to training,” said Empire’s newest star. “When I got here, I really enjoyed playing indoor. That’s why I decided to accept the offer and join the team. It’s something different and a new challenge for me, which makes it fun. My main goal right now is to adapt quickly, because this game is very fast and very intense. I also hope to help the team with my experience so we can start winning more games.”

A dual citizen, Miguel Ponce was born in Sacramento, California but moved with his family to Guadalajara, Mexico as a toddler and then to the border city of Tijuana at age ten to allow for visits from his father, who was working in California. Ponce’s father later used a friend’s U.S. address as a base so his son could attend school stateside and learn English. After impressing with the San Ysidro High School soccer team, then 15-year-old Ponce was invited to try out for the Chivas academy, which would mark the beginning of over a decade and a half spent with the Mexican giants. 

After six years in the youth system of the 12-time Primera División/Liga MX champs, Miguel Ponce joined the first team at 21 years old and quickly garnered attention as one of the country’s rising stars. After winning the 2011 Pan American games with El Tri’s U-22 side, the left back went on to play in four matches during the U-23s’ Olympic gold-medal run in London the following year. At the senior level, he was later called up for the 2011 Copa América (Mexico’s roster featuring only players under the age of 22), the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. 

Throughout his time representing his country, Miguel Ponce played alongside attacker Marco Fabián, who was also his Chivas teammate from 2004 until Fabián’s 2015 transfer to Germany’s Eintracht Frankfurt. 

“I am happy to be sharing the field with my friend after all these years,” offered Fabián in a written statement. “Miguel isn’t just an excellent footballer but also the kind of person you want to have on your team. He is dedicated, loyal, and always supportive of those around him. I believe having him here could help us solve some problems and take a big step in the right direction.” 

Ponce made nearly 250 appearances for the Chivas first team between 2010 and 2022. Led by its Mexico standout, the club enjoyed a glorious two-year stretch that began in the second half of 2015, winning a pair of domestic cup competitions, one Supercopa MX crown, and one league title. Ponce would again win the domestic cup while on loan with Necaxa in 2018. He had previously spent 2014 on loan at Toluca. 

“We’re very pleased to be adding another player whose outdoor career speaks for itself,” said Empire’s general manager, Oliver King. “When you can bring in someone like Miguel, who is adored by the fans of one of the biggest clubs in Mexico, and who has represented his country at the highest level, that speaks volumes about what’s possible for us. We’re grateful to Strykers fans for continuing to support us through the growing pains of building a winning roster for the future. This signing should give them extra motivation to cheer us to victory at Toyota Arena.”

Miguel Ponce and his Empire teammates face a pair of must-win matches in the coming days. After hitting the road for Saturday’s meeting with the Dallas Sidekicks, Head Coach Paul Wright’s men return home to take on the Texas Outlaws on Tuesday, January 9. Tickets for the crucial clash in Ontario are available here.