Seattle Sounders right back Alex Roldan penned a powerful personal story for MLSsoccer.com on Monday, explaining his upbringing and ultimate choice to represent El Salvador on the international stage.
Present throughout the piece is Roldan’s gratitude for his parents, both of whom immigrated to the United States in the 1980’s. With his father hailing from Guatemala and his mother from El Salvador, Alex and his brothers – Cristian and Cesar – grew up in a culturally rich household.
“We're so grateful for what they've done for us," he wrote. "They traveled thousands of miles and sacrificed so much to give us a better life, to give us opportunities that many other kids don't get, and that foundation is where it all started for us. At the same time, we were also fortunate to have the chance to go back, to visit their homelands every few years during the summers and stay connected to our family and our heritage.”
As Alex’s professional career advanced, his multi-cultural upbringing manifested into a choice at the international level. With his brother, Cristian, representing the United States, Alex ultimately made the decision to embark on his own journey, one inspired by the influence of his parents.
“Unlike Cristian, I was never approached by the US.," noted Roldan. "And in that situation, I felt I could either wait until they called me – a call that might never come – or seize my opportunity to create my own path and be my own person.
“So, I chose El Salvador because I felt like I could create a bigger impact on the field, and also write my own story. It was a chance to help a country that I still loved just as much as the US because of everything that I've been through with my family, what we experienced together.”
Alex also detailed what it’s been like to play alongside his brother with the Seattle Sounders, and how competing against him on the international stage has been a remarkable experience for the entire Roldan family.
“But playing for El Salvador has helped me become my own person, with my own identity, and I’m so thankful for that," wrote Roldan. "It also led me towards one of my favorite moments of my soccer career so far: Playing against my brother in two World Cup qualifiers, the first of which was in El Salvador last year, with our friends and family watching.”
Above all else, Roldan took the opportunity to share his admiration and appreciation for all that his parents have sacrificed to give him and his brothers opportunities to pursue their ambitions.
“My brothers and I realized the American dream. But we also understand that it never would’ve happened without the struggles that our parents had before coming to this country. We’re so blessed to have lived in both worlds, to have gained that perspective, that appreciation of the journey.”
You can read the full piece on HERE.