Concacaf Legends: Honduras' Left Back For Over A Decade, Emilio Izaguirre

null

Sometimes, it's hard to go back home. 

Plenty of soccer players have left their hometown clubs for greener pastures, only to endure tough times when they returned to their original club late in their careers. Honduran left back Emilio Izaguirre has recently made that leap, though, returning to Motagua after an illustrious career in Scotland playing for Celtic, to play for the club where he got his start as a professional. 

After such a fine career overseas, there were plenty of people who were happy to see him back home in Tegucigalpa.



FloFC’s Concacaf Legends series rolls on with a look at a player who won it all playing in Scotland while locking down the left back spot for his country over the past 12 years. 

Birthplace: Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Years Active: 2003-current

Teams: Motagua, Celtic, Al-Fayha

Notable Achievements: Appearances at two World Cups (2010, 2014), two Gold Cups (2007, 2019), Scottish Premiership champion (seven times), Scottish Cup champions (three times), Scottish League Cup champion (two times), Scottish Premier League Player of the Year (2010-11)

Izaguirre made his debut with his hometown club, Motagua, in 2004 as a 17-year-old. He quickly became a mainstay in the side for Ciclón Azul, racking up nearly 150 league appearances from 2004 to 2010. While excelling in the Honduran capital, Izaguirre went on to make his debut for his country in 2007, later playing at that year's Concacaf Gold Cup. 

During that time, there were plenty of flirtations with Izaguirre and clubs outside of Honduras. That included MLS, where clubs had seen the left back up close in Concacaf Champions League games, to go along with the 2007 Gold Cup. There were overtures from Europe as well, which never came to fruition until 2010, when Izaguirre joined Celtic FC, one of the two biggest clubs in Scotland. That move came shortly after Izaguirre made two appearances at the 2010 World Cup, the first of two World Cups in which he appeared.

Within Honduran soccer, there isn't a long history of players going to Europe and enjoying long, sustained careers. Maynor Figueroa and Wilson Palacios come to mind, but Izaguirre quickly added his name to the list of Hondurans enjoying success in Europe when he made waves in his first season with Celtic. 

For his efforts in his debut 2010-11 season, Izaguirre won the following individual awards playing as a left back: SPFA Players' Player of the Year, SFWA Footballer of the Year, Scottish Premier League Player of the Year. 

In other words, Izaguirre was bestowed with all the top individual awards that a player could win in Scotland. 

Coincidentally, that season marked the only one during his Celtic career in which the club did not win the Scottish Premiership. In his seven other seasons in Glasgow, Izaguirre won the league, to go along with five cup triumphs, becoming one of the most decorated Honduran players of all time. In eight seasons with the Hoops, Izaguirre played over 250 games in all competitions, holding down the left back spot for much of his career in Glasgow.

During that time, Izaguirre continued to be a mainstay for Honduras, racking up 106 caps to go along with four goals. Izaguirre didn't participate in another Gold Cup until this season but did appear in two games at the 2014 World Cup, the last appearance that Los Catrachos made at the prestigious tournament.  

Izaguirre's tenure at Celtic came to a close after the 2017 season, when he contract ran out. The 33-year-old moved to Al-Fayha FC in Saudi Arabia for the 2017-2018 season. Game time for Izaguirre wasn't an issue, but at the conclusion of that season, he returned to Celtic in order to cover for up-and-coming left back Kieran Tierney. 


Izaguirre made just 19 appearances in all competitions in 2018-19, paving his way home to Motagua. On his way there, Izaguirre played at the 2019 Gold Cup, an overall disappointing tournament for the Hondurans, who finished last in their group. However, as a small consolation, Izaguirre scored his fourth international goal in a 4-0 win over El Salvador, as the Hondurans prevented their rivals from moving on to the quarterfinal stage of the tournament. 

His career might be slowly winding down, but the prominence of Izaguirre could pave the way for Honduran youngsters over in Europe, where the new generation can test 

First Half Own Goal Gives D.C. United Huge Victory Over Portland Timbers

In 90 minutes of rain, D.C. United emerged victorious in the Pacific Northwest, benefitting from an own goal in a 1-0 win against the Portland Timbers. Bill Tuiloma knocked in Ulises Segura's cross in the 25th minute, giving United their second consecutive win, both of which came away from the friendly confines at Audi Field. The win elevated the Black-and-Red to fourth place in the Eastern Conference, a position that could change depending on other results on Sunday.

D.C. United In Position To Solidify Playoff Position With PDX Trip

After two weeks off for the international break, D.C. United are back in action on Sunday afternoon as they travel cross-country to take on the Portland Timbers. A win could see the Black-and-Red vault back into fourth place in the Eastern Conference after they were surpassed midweek by Toronto FC, who moved into fourth on the goal differential tiebreaker. Both teams currently occupy a playoff spot at the moment but need a win to cement their standing.

4 Notes From The Opening Rounds Of The Concacaf Nations League

The opening two rounds of the Concacaf Nations League are in the books, and we now have a clearer picture of which nations might punch their tickets to bigger and better things or tumble down into a lower league. 

Final 4 Weeks Of MLS Season Should Provide Plenty Of Drama

With the new schedule this year, Major League Soccer has a couple more sprints before the finish of the 2019 season. With the new playoff schedule, the second season is much shorter this year, after having to deal with the November international window smack dab in the middle of the playoffs. This year the playoffs are sandwiched between the October and November FIFA windows, which will help produce an MLS Cup winner in a whirlwind of a playoff schedule.

The Gap Between US & Mexico Is Widening On The International Stage

Rewind the tape to last September, when the USA and Mexico faced off in a friendly in Nashville. Tyler Adams helped the USMNT grab a 1-0 victory under the guidance of interim manager Dave Sarachan. What might be most memorable from that game, though, was the towering center back Matt Miazga reminding Mexican youngster Diego Lainez just how much shorter the then 18-year-old was than Miazga.

Trinidad & Tobago Struggle In Opening Rounds Of Concacaf Nations League

Though it may have been just a consolation prize considering their last-place finish in the Hex, Trinidad & Tobago’s shocking win over the United States at the tail end of 2017 was ample reason for the small nation to celebrate. 

4 Games Left To Decide D.C. United's MLS Playoff Standing

The last time D.C. United took the field in a competitive MLS game, they did their playoff chances a world of good. In a crucial showdown against the Montreal Impact on August 31, the Black-and-Red repeatedly punched their opponents in the mouth over the first 45 minutes of the game, picking up a 3-0 win that massively helped ease the pressure on a playoff race that was rapidly tightening up.

Concaclusions, Ep. 1: Nations League Matchday 1 & Mexico Dominate USA

null

From clutch finishes to a surprise resignation, the last week of Concacaf action featured just about everything imaginable as the inaugural Nations League is now underway. Away from the opening round of the tournament, Mexico were busy flexing their muscles in front of a rain-soaked crowd at MetLife Stadium. 

The Favorites Roll, Curaçao Narrowly Beats Haiti & More From Days 2 & 3

null

The past two days of the Concacaf Nations League has provided plenty of drama, decisive results, and world-class goals for everyone to enjoy. With games across all three leagues in the competition, some storylines are already beginning to play out throughout the competition, as we move on to the second match day, beginning on Monday.

Unexpected Concacaf Twist: Gustavo Matosas Stepping Down Because Of Boredom

The Concacaf Nations League began play this week and is sure to provide plenty of drama on the field over the next couple of months. Countries are vying to move to the semifinal round, or avoid relegation, or even jump up a league through promotion. There's always some element of unpredictability in these games, leading to shock results and standout performances from unheralded players.