One of the unwritten laws of the South American potreros (the rough patches of ground where many of the continent’s youngsters learn their football) is that the largest-framed player always goes in goal. Chile goalkeeper Johnny Herrera can vouch for that, having been stationed there when he took up the game at the age of nine in his hometown of Angol. Turning his banishment into an opportunity, he made the place his own and has gone on to forge a successful career at the highest level.
Rejected by Universidad Catolica, he found a home at Universidad de Chile, where he began his quest for glory at the age of 14. Since making his top-flight debut at an early age, he has won 12 trophies in two spells with Los Azules, with stints at three other clubs coming in between. The third-choice keeper in the Chile squad that won bronze at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Sydney 2000, Herrera played at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Argentina 2001, while Juvenal Olmos called him up to the Chile squad for the Athens 2004 Olympic qualifiers. That was the first of many occasions on which he was an understudy to Claudio Bravo, who is the main reason why Herrera has only a handful of full international caps to his name. A member of the Chile squad at Brazil 2014, Herrera also collected winner’s medals at the 2015 Copa America and the 2016 Copa America Centenario.