A matured, motivated Lucatero talks about his return to Texas

When Christian Lucatero signed his Homegrown contract with the Houston Dynamo in 2015, he was coming off camps with the USMNT and Mexican U-18 teams, had multiple Player of the Year honors with the Houston Dynamo Academy, and was considered the best player ever to come out of that Academy.

But, his star didn’t burn as bright at the professional level, only appearing with Houston in friendlies and in the USL with RGVFC and his option was declined in 2017 by the Dynamo, leading to a move to Mexico. Fast forward to 2020, Christian Lucatero is back in the Valley and he’s motivated to prove he’s the real deal.

The Pasadena, Texas native played for the Toros in 2016 and 2017 on loan from Houston. As a teenager, he tallied three assists on the highly-touted 2016 team before registering zero in 15 appearances the next season. Then, Houston turned down his MLS contract option that following offseason. “Yeah, I was a little bummed about it at first because I always wanted to be in Houston in front of my hometown crowd but things don’t always go as planned,” Lucatero told BGN. “So, I had the option of going to Mexico and thought it was a good move for myself.”

That move was to join Nexaca of Liga MX. He spent time training with the first team and playing games with the U-20s and the reserve side. “It was a good experience and really helped me improve my game being down there,” he explained. Luca thought living and playing away from home was good for him. He said, “(It) really helped me mature as I was really getting out of my comfort zone of being at home and here in the states. Overall a good experience.”

A major theme of his time away from Texas was maturation. When I asked if he thought he was mature enough during the first go-round with the Dynamo organization, he answered, “I personally know I wasn’t and leaving home out of the country really was the best thing for me to improve that in myself.”

Did he feel the pressure of being considered the crown jewel of the Academy? “I was given all the tools to get better and better but just lacked on the defensive side of the game/mentality,” he said. “Defending is something everyone has to do, not just the defenders in today’s game.”

Outside of soccer, an exciting change for Lucatero helped on that journey to mature. Today, his son, Luka, is turning seven months old. He recognizes the added responsibility of being a father to his son and a partner to his girlfriend, Arlette. “I definitely have to mature 100% and (it) has really given me the biggest motivation to be successful! It’s not about me anymore but about them and giving them everything,” the 22-year-old explained.

Christian, Luka, and Arlette earlier this year on Easter Sunday.

Now, as a father and a more mature man, Lucatero signed with RGVFC before this season because he has some unfinished business in the Lonestar State and he’s ready to give his all for this new opportunity that he was given.

Outside of all of his new teammates, he said not too much is different down in the Valley. He is now playing under Gerson Echeverry, who he says is a good coach that wants the best for the club and every individual. The third-year boss for the Toros lauds Christian’s dribbling, creativity, and notes that he was the club’s leading scorer in the preseason.

Before the season was delayed due to COVID-19, Lucatero played the full 90 minutes in RGVFC’s opening loss to LA Galaxy II. He finished with three shots (two on target) and 22 completed passes. He said he is more motivated and prepared than ever before. Discussing the potential return of USL action in July, Lucatero said about representing the Valley, “(I’m) really excited! (I) just want to bring them good and enjoyable soccer to watch as well as wins!”

With an improved focus, understanding of the game, and the unique skill set he’s had all along, Christian Lucatero’s soccer journey is just beginning.

Carson A Merk

Reporting live from Sin City, I have covered both RGVFC and Las Vegas Lights FC since their inceptions. I also write profiles to highlight players from the NCAA to USL to NWSL and everywhere in between.