Q&A with Midfielder Rodrigo Saravia

  1. Photo: Columbus Crew

Rodrigo Saravia is one of the top prospects for Guatemalan soccer, he was selected 19th in MLS 2016 SuperDraft by Columbus Crew, and currently plays for division two club, IK Frej, from Sweden. He has represented Guatemala´s national team 6 times, including matches against USMNT. I had the privilege of asking him the following questions:

 

  • When and why did your love for this sport begin?
    • My love for sport starts from the since I have memory. I was blessed to be born into an athletic family. My father was and still is a lover of tennis and that got me more into the sport. The love of football was born when the tournaments of Futeca 5v5 and “Zona Deportiva” began to become famous and I remember that we made a team with some school mates called “Fantasmas” along with the school´s teams.
  • In what position do you feel most comfortable on the pitch?
    • As I have been growing and getting to know myself more and more, I consider myself a versatile player, that means I can play a defensive midfielder or a steering wheel that defends and attacks at the same time (box-to-box), these two are positions in the I feel comfortable today. I have also played sometimes as a defensive back and in my opinion, I did not go wrong.
  • What does it feel like to defend your national team from a young age?
    • The greatest dream of every football player is to defend his country’s shirt. It is the most beautiful thing that has happened to me and I hope to defend the colors of blue and white again. A unique feeling that I cannot reach the words to describe.

 

 

  •  What is the most difficult to play abroad?
    • My dream has always been to put the name of my country as high as possible. Indeed, loneliness is one of the most difficult things that a footballer can live in my way of thinking, but at the same time you´re is fulfilling your dream. In life, everything is a sacrifice. When it comes to competing, you must keep in mind that you must stand out and give the best of yourself, so you can go and put the name of Guatemala high and be able to give more teammates who play in Guatemala a possibility to go abroad.
  • What is your opinion about the current situation of the Guatemalan soccer federation (Fedefut) and Guatemalan soccer in general?
    • Guatemala’s soccer lives today a situation that had never been lived. I think we’ve hit the bottom and seeing the positive side of it, we cannot go any further, everything that comes is going to be positive and I’m completely sure that we will get out of this very soon. It took a very important step recently with the statutes and gave me a positive vibe about the suspension. Guatemalan soccer, in general, could improve in many aspects as in many other countries, but as for our soccer, I feel that it should contribute more to the youth development of each club.
  • What does it mean for such a young player to make a national debut alongside a legend like Carlos Ruiz, and what have you learned from him?
    • I have seen, see and will continue to see Carlos Ruiz as what he is, an idol of national soccer. He achieved many goals and in many places where he has played, he is admired for the way he has worked and the way he has played. I’m honored to say that I manage to play with the best player that Guatemala has had and I always wish him all the best.
  •  What are your plans for the future?
    • I want to continue playing abroad. I want to achieve important things in my career so I can give an example to young players who are growing in Guatemala. And clearly, continue participating with national team if everything is resolved.

 

  • What are the differences in living in Sweden compared to college life in the United States and youth lived in Guatemala?
    • Playing in Europe was always my dream and I reached it. It has been a difficult year, I will not lie to you about certain things that have happened but I think I have been able to manage them in the best way. In the United States, you live very comfortably, you don´t realize all the facilities that you have living there, and in Guatemala it is a different theme for what I mentioned before, living with my family and being able to see them every day is priceless. The good thing about living outside is that you learn to appreciate many more things in life.
  • How do you see the national team for the next qualifying process for the Qatar World Cup 2022?
    • First, we have to leave this suspension, which I believe will be soon. As for the Qatar World Cup 2022, I think we have good weapons and an excellent base to achieve that dream that the whole town has. Participating in all possible tournaments with the same base I think we could achieve something great from now on.
  •  How is your relationship with your teammates compared to the one you have with your teammates in your club?
    • The theme of being Latin and speaking Spanish changes everything. The Latin is much more open and it is much easier to have a broad conversation with him. I think language also has a lot to do in terms of relationships with players in clubs. Here in Sweden from the first day everyone treated me very well and thank God, I got along very well with everyone, I could say. In the national team, it is different, as I mentioned, I get well with most of the players that were in the same juvenile processes that I was but obviously, with some I still stay in contact with some more than with others.

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