I do want to put a disclaimer here. I openly admit I’m not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to soccer, and most of the articles, podcasts, and interviews that I’m using for this article are in Spanish. I’ve been learning Spanish and can somewhat speak it, but these translations will likely test my ability. I apologize in advance for any mistakes.
Lo siento para alguna errores, estoy aprendiendo espanol!
As you’d likely suspect, shortly after Jeff Luhnow had officially acquired Cancun FC (professional Mexican soccer team), he began to make changes within the organization. Of course, one of the most important hires he will make as he starts to mold the team is the coach.
While Luhnow is not particularly shy about making bold statements, (I mean, he has used the Death Star as an illustration before) you can’t help but feel a comfort in Luhnow’s words.
So who is Inigo Idiakez?
As a player, Idiakez was an attacking midfielder and free kick specialist who played 10 years with Real Sociedad and additional time across top Spanish and English teams. Eventually cementing himself as a legend with Derby where he was named the player of the year in 2005.
You may have heard his name recently, as he’s been a vocal supporter of Derby as they go through some hardships, making his voice heard in support of his former team.
Inigo Idiakez says Derby County 'cannot be allowed to die' https://t.co/5TqWan7UHs— Steve Nicholson (@SNicholsonDT) January 19, 2022
Unlike when we did the series of articles with Brent Strom, I haven’t found quite as much information in regards to the theories and strategies he believes in. Fortunately, there was an interview with him and Noticias de Gipuzkoa’s JL Lorenzo that talks through the journey of becoming the coach, and drops a few hints that may give our first glimpses into some of Cancun FC’s plan.
From how the article reads, Luhnow had set a very specific set of criteria he was looking for in his coach. Idiakez mentions a list of characteristics, a person who had worked in the academy, with experience as an assistant, a manager, and had experience in Africa meeting players.
When Inigo met with Luhnow’s team, he talked about them presenting the signings they are going to go after and the vision of the team. What’s interesting is he highlights the point of having a year in which you can neither ascend nor descend, which allows them to really experiment with the squad. Throughout the interview, Inigo echoes how comfortable and assured he feels with the vision, the trust he has in the squad, the project, and the team. There is a clear defined goal for the team to move up the to the top league in the second year.
Lorenzo asked Inigo if they’ll be playing the style of football he played as a player. There are definitely similarities but explains that the goal for the team will be much faster, more colorful, more vertical with the fight/grit type of approach to their play.
Idiakez expanded slightly on these concepts during the press conference presenting him and the new staff. He explained that Cancun FC will look to implement a faster style of football. Noting that Mexican football, has a high quality of play but is much slower and is only providing 50-55 minutes of effective play. Additionally he noted adding rhythm, playing from below, being more vertical, creating additional chances making a dynamic offensive team that focuses on delivering what the fans came for.
While generalized, this does give the first insights I’ve seen into some of the strategy that may come into play. As Astros fans, I’m sure none of us are surprised that Luhnow has long detailed plans reminding me of the process. But Inigo details some of the other challenges, with the new location there is a ton of work to be done. They need to renovate the stadium, build a gym, a training field, etc. with an intent of bringing the elite professionalism and training Inigo learned from his time with European clubs.
It will be intriguing to follow Cancun’s progress, and I’m truly excited for a bit more granular detail into their plans. Although, I’m sure in classic Luhnow style it will be held close to the vest. It wasn’t until I did in-depth research on Strom that I really started to see the technological approach to training that Luhnow had driven throughout the organization. And that’s even with all of the attention, interviews, and reports on the Astros highly analytical approach. I will have to spend some time doing research to see if there are Soccer alternatives for the litany of devices the Astros used such as Raspodo, Catapult, K-Vests, 4D Motion etc.
I do want to give Idiakez credit, as I watched numerous press conferences, interviews, podcasts, etc - there’s a few elements of his personality that seem to shine through. He’s passionate about football and an engaging speaker. His success in the league will lend him immediate credibility to the team, and based on his interview, he seems fully bought into the strategy that Luhnow’s leadership team has planned out. While a few hours of interviews and clips are not an effective way of gauging any person’s personality, Inigo’s passion for his teams and his players came through, showing why I believe he will be able to effectively communicate the strategies and methodologies to the team.
As we continue to dive deeper into Cancun’s evolution, I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the reactions to the news breaking of Luhnow buying a team.
Just for Fun - Reactions Around the Internet:
My personal favorite was StrosDynasty on Reddit:
(My friend and I essentially played this mode on Fifa career mode, knowing Luhnow was interested in buying a Mexican team, we would take a Mexican league team and putting them in the lower leagues of the EFL and rise through the ranks using scouting and buy/sell of players)
Cancun FC Gear:
In the last article, I know a few commenters mentioned about getting Cancun FC gear. With the recent logo/name change etc - it can be difficult to find. The official store for Cancun FC gear for the US is : https://cancunfcstore.com/collections/other-apparel - To be clear - TCB has no affiliation with Cancun FC / Store etc. Simply want to share the official site to find gear