Chimdum Mez unsigned by San Jose Earthquakes

Jeremiah Martinez

After being drafted by the San Jose Earthquakes in the MLS Super Draft in January, Chimdum Mez announced on his twitter account Sunday, Feb. 8 that he did not sign with the team.

“[I’m] extremely grateful for the opportunity with the Earthquakes, but unfortunately I didn’t get signed,” Mez tweeted. “It’s all good though…if you know me, you know I’ll continue to put the work in and prove I belong in the league #BelieveThat.”

Mez was selected by San Jose with the 66th overall pick in the fourth round of the draft. He recently joined the Earthquakes last January for training camp and was cut during the team’s trip in Arizona for exhibition play.

The former Sacramento State forward received the news from Earthquakes’ coach Dominic Kinnear at the team’s hotel. The depth of the forward position combined with the difficulty of adjusting to the speed of the pro game was part of the decision Mez didn’t sign with the team.

Also, the Quakes’ star forward Chris Wondolowski wasn’t made available to the club during camp due to participation in the United State’s Men’s National team––that played a significant factor in Mez’s opportunity to sign.

“I was slowly adjusting to the game and there were a certain amount of spots on the roster,” Mez said. “They had a lot of forwards on the team and I wasn’t doing as well as them.”

His immediate plans are to rejoin Sac State and help run some of the team’s practices this week. He’s also waiting for a call from his agent within the next few days about another opportunity from a few teams in the MLS.

“The journey is not over yet,” Mez said. “I know I’m going to make it happen and I’ll be in the league one day.”

According to Hornets’ coach Michael Linenberger, Mez is planning to enroll in classes during the spring semester just in case another opportunity doesn’t come up.

“We chatted with Chim a couple of times this week already, he’s back in town and his mentality is fantastic,” Linenberger said. “He’s already training hard, he wants to get better, he’s not giving up, he’s not pouting about it and he’s taken it as a challenge.”

Mez confirmed he was reinstated by the university and is currently searching for classes. He was originally slated to graduate with a bachelor’s in organizational communications this coming May, but withdrew from school due to participating in camp with the Earthquakes.

“I know God has a plan for me” Mez said. “I’ve always had my ups and downs and when I fall, I always get up.”

His cousin Amobi Okugo, 23, contacted him via text message and gave him advice about the situation.

“He [Amobi] said he seen me come a long way and made it this far and exceeded everyone’s expectations,” Mez said.

Okugo had more inspirational things to say about Mez.

“I’ve told him there’s many ways to the top of the mountain,” Okugo said. “He’s the type of person who always bounces back”.

Okugo is currently a center-midfielder for the Orlando City SC in Orlando, Florida.

Mez’s former teammates from Sac State contacted him after they received the news.

“They were obviously upset,” Mez said. “They know how I work and they told me to keep on moving.”

Mez sent a group text message to his former coaches at Sac State telling them the news. Linenberger replied to Mez saying he was sorry about the news and that it was unfortunate and to continue to work hard.

“It’s a higher level but he’s been through it with us and it’s always interesting how players or people in general will react to adversity and Chim reacts very well to adversity,” Linenberger said. “[Mez] doesn’t get down on himself, he doesn’t blame others, he says ‘OK I’m going to get better and I got to work harder’.”

This isn’t the first time Mez has been cut from his team. His previous experience came during his sophomore season with the Hornets. He rejoined the men’s soccer team during the 2012 spring semester and earned himself a scholarship the following fall.

“I know how it feels to get cut,” Mez said. “It’s a minor setback and I’m going to continue to work hard to make it to the league.”

Mez stated that this experience helped him deal with the current situation and that he believes everything happens for a reason.

“I understand why things happen the way they do,” he said. “That experience helped me 100 percent and would help [me] get through this.”

Even though he’s no longer with the team, Mez thinks he could still make an impact on the professional level.

“It takes time to adjust to the speed of the game and I need to continue to work hard if I want to prove I belong in the league,” Mez said. “As soon as I get adjusted to the speed of the game, I know I could be dangerous and do great things in the league.”

Linenberger believes Mez has the talent to succeed in the MLS, but needs some time to develop.

“The MLS is a physical league and they like strikers like Chimdum, big strong physical guys, a physical presence … but I think players develop at different rates and for me he’s a late bloomer,” Linenberger said. “[He’s] a great athlete, he dedicated himself to the game fairly late, but I think his best years are still out there … some players develop early and peak early, but Chimdum’s ceiling is still very high.”

This article was been updated on Feb. 15 to include more information on Mez and his future plans.