Hernan Pena | “That cannot happen in a club”: he was champion, they made him a curious proposal and he had to leave

Hernan Pena He says that he returned to Santiago driving his vehicle from Arica. “We came with my wife making several stops on the route. It was entertaining, we got to know different places and we were not bored at all”, indicates AS the former DT of San Marcos, who won the 2022 National Championship title and today is looking for a project for next season.

Surprisingly, the strategist did not continue to command the northerners, after nearly three years in the city, a cycle that also included the surprising drop in 2020 due to the poor registration of Zederic Vega. The cast directed by Grief He had been one of the protagonists of the tournament and also lost the category.

“It was a beautiful stage within what was like running a great challenge with the team. The only objective was to become champions and ascend, it was yes or yes. It’s not that I didn’t want to continue in the club, what happens is that there was a proposal that the owner of the club had already mentioned to me a long time ago. He wanted me to continue,” says Peña.

– What happened then?

– Look, to answer the question I’m going to start from the beginning of my history in the club. When we arrived at the beginning of 2020 we had to face several situations. We must have played many away games and it was quite hard, in Talca and Valparaíso. The objective was to maintain the category and it was a long process with many sacrifices, we had no field or where to train. We got places and then the invitation from Don David Ramos appeared, who had made a field for his workers and in the end it was our home since the middle of that year.

– In 2021 were you able to work in better shape then?

– Yes, and we were also able to put together a slightly more competitive team within the club’s coffers. Unfortunately, with four or five dates remaining for the end of the championship, we were told that there was a wrongly registered player. We ended up going down because of that, despite the fact that at some point we were second and fighting for first place. A new stage was beginning with David Ramos and that happened.

– In any case, he chose to stay to seek promotion in the Second Division.

– Yes, because there was also the idea of ​​doing something with young football in the city and carrying out a long-term project. I needed to manage in the Second Division, because I had gone through all levels of Chilean soccer as a coach or assistant. It is a very intense category, where there is a lot of youth, the scenario changes a lot with respect to the First B. Along with this we also had to start an administrative restructuring of the club.


Peña and his staff with the Second Division trophy.

-How was that?

– There came a person that I took, that I introduced him to Mr. David (Ramos) and in the first instance he was not going to go to the club, because he had other proposals, but finally he joined. This is how the club began to be structured, because it had neither head nor tail. Before, it was under the command of Mr. Carlos Ferry and he did everything, but today the clubs need a basic order, they are public limited companies.

– How did that stage progress?

– The challenge was great, because we also had to go back to Primera B. You know that within everything there will always be people who like or don’t like the way you lead the team. I was hired to generate results and they were positive. We had to go up yes or yes and I think that the owner of the club was not wrong in that we stayed because of the knowledge of the area, of the players we had left.

– You fulfilled your goal, but why didn’t you finally continue in the club?

– Look, at first I had visualized that it was a stage already completed and I thought so since they notified me that they were going to bring another technician. What happens is that things changed when this person arrived to see the organizational issue of the club. He came to do his job, convince the owner of the club in one way or another. So, they offered me to continue, but the proposal was that I stay with the projection and Sub 17 teams.

– What will go down to young football?

– Yes, of course, that I stay with them and that I assume the position of first coach when the DT on duty in the first team does not go well. I did not like that, aside from the project of directing the youth. It seemed to me a lack of respect for the person in charge of the campus, because he was going to be waiting for the opportunity to take charge. That can’t happen in a club. With four or five dates left until the tournament ended, at one point I felt that there was a distance with this person and that’s when I understood the message, we knew we were going to go out.

– Unfortunate…

– But I was also clear that it was already a completed process. At best, three years with the same person on the bench is already exhausting for the club and even for the same people to be looking at it. It’s what I felt, the goal had been met and I also left the door open for a possible return. That will always be. With the great support of the owner, we left a club that had nothing, with a luxury complex, with an infrastructure that it did not have, with a policy of training and removing players. We made many players from the area play and they told me that this had not happened for a long time. I really left the city calm and grateful. Also grateful to Mr. David Ramos, he got into football and has been a contribution, you have to take care of him. They had breakfast, they had lunch, a good complex, things that many clubs don’t give you, and more in this category.

– Who is this person you speak of?

– I’d rather not name her… Look, I don’t have any grudges. I hope they continue to do things well, because of the sacrifice the owner made to believe in us, in a project, in football. Soccer is so bad, there are so many people who want to take advantage of these instances. At one point I thought “finally a club that is generated by people who really love football and are not looking for extra benefits”. I hope that this does not happen, that this does not happen in San Marcos.

– He intends to direct again in Ascent in 2023.

– Yes, we are waiting for the tournament to end. Officially, they have not told me anything, but in several clubs my name appeared. As long as there is nothing official, I cannot generate false expectations. I’m not going to name them either, because in the end you say the name and it turns out that you never really had a chance at that club.