James Vargas | He is 17 years old, saves in the B and also has another job: “The pressure in football does not exist”

Jaime Vargas is 17 years old. and has not yet signed his first professional contract in Sports Recoleta. However, the young goalkeeper has already had the chance to play three games in the first team of the squad that is fighting to stay in the Promotion Tournament. Despite his young age, the goalkeeper leaves a striking phrase as soon as he begins his dialogue with AS Chile.

“This opportunity did not take me so much by surprise, because I have always prepared myself to play. I’ve always trained well so that when it’s my turn, I’ll give my best for the team. Obviously I’m a boy, but when the opportunity comes, you have to be available and take advantage of it, ”he says from the home of his parents, whom he visits whenever he can in Saint Vincent of Tagua Tagua.

Vargas’ sacrifices to reach professionalism

Vargas came to Recoleta came to the U15 after a recommendation from a coach who knew him from the Bernardo Pavez Soccer School of San Vicente de Tagua Tagua. “At the beginning of the year, he took other teammates to Recoleta, so his father told me: ‘you’re going to train full-time for half a year and a team from there is going to take you.’ In those six months I trained from Sunday to Sunday”, he recounts.

One day, the Recoleta chief of cadets asked him if he wanted to try out for the club. Vargas accepted, but what was coming was not expected. “They already had the papers ready (laughs). Of course, I was not going to live alone. I was going to be with a ‘teacher’ and a classmate”, he indicates.

That’s where his path began, although he had to face very powerful external obstacles: the social outbreak and the arrival of the coronavirus. “When I arrived in Recoleta, I was there for two or three months and the outbreak came up, and when we returned, I managed to play two dates and the pandemic arrived. Of course, it never crossed my mind to stop playing”, he comments.

– Have you been satisfied with your performance?

– Yes, although obviously more can always be done. I feel good because of the trust that my teammates and coaching staff give me. That makes me give my hundred percent always.

– Have you always been a goalkeeper?

– Yes, although younger I played as a striker, but it was not my thing, there was no goal (laughs). My great lifelong idol is (Gianluigi) Buffon and I also have Claudio Bravo and (Gianluigi) Donnarumma as references.

– Does he challenge his classmates or does it still cost him because of his age?

– (Laughs) In the dressing room they tell me that if I have to challenge or scold someone, to do it with all confidence, that no one is going to tell me anything. All in all, your teammates give you that confidence and it’s good, but it’s hard to raise your voice to a teammate who is older than you and has a lot more experience than you. Some colleagues have a long history, so what am I going to tell them? (laughs). Of course, speaking is one of the qualities that has given me the best. They have always told me that ‘a goalkeeper who does not speak, a goalkeeper who does not play’. In fact, in almost every game, I am almost speechless.

“Pressure in football doesn’t exist…”

In the first round we lacked the chaucha pal’ peso as they say out there to close those games where we deserved the three points. You have to work and as the ‘teacher’ says, ‘force until the ball goes in’ as happened to us in those three games in a row that we won before Deportes Copiapó. Now we have to keep trying,” he says. Vargas on the Recoleta fight, which is last in the weighted table.

– The next match is against Santiago Morning, who is also fighting in the background…

– For us all the remaining games will be a final. It is a direct rival, because if we lose, they escape and we sink. We have to win yes or yes.

– Do you play with more pressure due to the delicate situation in which you find yourself?

– I think that the pressure in football does not exist. Pressure is what a dad has when he can’t bring food to his house. In football you have to do well and show what you train in the week. What it is is a responsibility and it has to be faced as such. You have to be well in the head and feet to be able to perform in the best way.

– Although you tell me that there is no pressure, can you enjoy yourself on the court or does responsibility inhibit that?

– I think the first thing is always to enjoy it, but responsibly. For me it is a process that is just beginning. Now is the most beautiful stage of my career. Maybe it is not enjoyed in the best way due to the situation we are in, but everything I have done in my life is to play and now that I am doing it, I enjoy it a lot.

– I ask about the future. What goals do you have for your career?

– One goal I have is that hopefully in two years I will be in a First Division team as a starter and consecrate myself to dream even bigger and get to play in a European league. I would love to play in Italy. Signing a contract is a goal that I hope I can meet soon, because it gives you a backing, so to speak. If it doesn’t happen, I’ll keep waiting and working until it arrives.


Jaime Vargas in the duel against Magallanes.Sports Recoleta

Vargas’s life as a carny

The young goalkeeper from Recoleta grew up in a family that sells fruit and vegetables. That is why, since he was a child, he was involved in that world, so much so that today he is also an entrepreneur in the field.

In my free time I like to go out and negotiate. As a child I have worked with fruits and vegetables. My grandfather and my uncles always worked on it, my father works all year round going to the fertile plain to get things and I also acquired that taste. It’s almost like a family tradition. I do it alone now, but usually in the summers,” he says.

What does he do?: “I buy wholesale here in San Vicente and sell. Thank God I’m doing very well. As long as it is possible, I will continue doing it, but I have always said that my life is focused on football”, he closes.

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