Journal Entry 1: The Roldans Are in Qatar!

Soccer has taken our family all over the world. I’ll be honest, I never expected it to be Qatar. But that’s where we are - my whole family - because Cristian is playing in the FIFA World Cup. It’s surreal.

It’s been a wild couple of weeks. Cristian and Jordan both got the call they were on the roster, and within a matter of days I’m taking off in a plane to Doha with a bunch of U.S. soccer fans. A dream that our family has had for years was actually happening: me, my fiancé, my parents, Cristian’s fiancé, and one of my childhood friends were at the World Cup to see Cristian.

It’s my first time at a World Cup, so I don’t really know what to expect, but this one definitely feels unique. There are lots of rules and regulations all over, and then the city of Doha feels like a look into the future in terms of the technology and architecture. The concentrated wealth is very apparent — we are staying on The Pearl, which is a man-made island that has a bunch of hotels. That’s mostly where the tourists stay.

On our second day here, we saw Cristian for the first time. In some ways it felt normal. As teammates and soccer players, we spend so much of our time just hanging out at hotels. This felt different, though, and I could really see it on my mom. Sometimes it will just hit her randomly where she has a moment of emotion that overcomes her.

You can tell she’s so proud and realizes the impact of everything she and my dad have done for Cristian to get here. I am very glad we can experience it together. We’ve only seen Cristian a handful of times because there are specific visitation windows at the hotel, including one night where we had a BBQ with USMNT players, families, and friends.

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It’s really cool to see the USA pride, too. One night I went to a party with a bunch of U.S. soccer fans, including a guy in a full bald eagle costume. That was definitely a vibe. And the first Group Stage game vs. Wales was incredible. As a brother, I was so excited to see Cristian run out of the tunnel and be with his teammates. As a player, though, I just wanted to be out there on the field!

I love being here as a spectator to support Cristian and hopefully he gets his opportunity on the pitch soon. But it makes me even more motivated to get to experience this as a player.

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