Central American immigrants’ World Cup dream comes true with Cristian Roldán of Team USA in action during the 2018 Copa America
They are the children of immigrants, the sons and daughters from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and others, but they have a great desire to play for a country that looks, to them, to be a very big and important power.
Some of them have been with their teams since they were teenagers. Some of them have made it to the semi-final in their first games. Some of them have played in the biggest games in their country. Some of them have played in the World Cup.
‘I wanted to be a Brazilian. I grew up with Brazilian football,’ says Marco Alves of Colombia. ‘I dreamed of playing for Brazil when I was a kid and when I grew up I saw a lot of Brazilian players playing, so when I was young I wanted to play for a Brazil team.
‘Then when I was playing for my country of origin, Chile, I was watching the Copa America, the World Cup and it was like watching a dream come true. It was perfect. I felt like I was part of a team that was very famous for its football. It made me feel very important to play for a team that has a very good history.
‘I was the first Colombino to play in the World Cup. I played my first game for Colombia against Belgium, then the first game I played again for Colombia was in the same World Cup against Sweden. I was part of the Colombia team that won the World Cup and that’s why I want to play for the USA.
‘I feel like a true American now that I’m playing in the World Cup. I feel like an American, a citizen because my country of origin is an American country. I grew up listening to American music in my country. The Americans are my people, my country, I feel like an American now. I feel very proud.
‘I feel like an American. I feel very