CARSON, Calif. – If there is one person who is happier than young Salvadorian Alan Rovira these days it would be his father, William. The elder Rovira found out last week that his son, a member of the LA Galaxy’s Under-18 Academy team, will soon get the chance to don the jersey of his beloved national team, “La Selecta,” which is how most Salvadorians affectingly refer to their national team.
“He loves football and has always cheered me on. He never misses a game,” Alan Rovira said of his father in an interview with LAGalaxy.com. “He’s always done everything to help me and so I want him to be proud. Right now, he is very happy and is calling everyone.”
Alan credits his father with helping him fall in love with the sport as a young child.
“I started playing when I was four-years-old and my love for soccer has always been strong,” the younger Rovira said.
Last Wednesday, Rovira, 18, was one of 20 players named by El Salvador head coach Jose Luis Rugamas to play in international friendlies against Honduras on Sept. 4 at the L.A. Coliseum and Guatemala on Sept. 7 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
The 5-foot-9 midfielder has come up the ranks of the LA Galaxy Youth Academy, first with the Under-16 team in 2008 and then this past season with the Under-18 squad. Rovira is a left-footed midfielder, who posses a lot of speed and ability with the ball. In 2009, he scored two goals in 20 games for his Academy side, helping the U-18’s reach the Development Academy Playoffs for the first time ever.
Rovira, who is schedule to report to the national team here in Los Angeles on Sept. 1, said he first found out of the call-up online while browsing the internet. He has since received many congratulatory messages and well wishes from his teammates and coaches with the Galaxy.
The academy is currently out of season, but the team will re-group in two weeks to begin preparations for the 2010/11 campaign. Or, to put it in another way, a few days after Rovira potentially makes his international debut.
However, Rovira knows there is still a lot of works that needs to be done between now and then, but he hopes to take full advantage of the opportunity to train with the senior national team.
“I expect a lot of competition. The team has good players, a lot of talent but also a lot of room to grow. That’s how I’m looking at it,” he said. “This is a great opportunity and we have to take it.”
While he knows it won’t be easy, Rovira says he is confident of his abilities and feels that because of the training and coaching that he has received with the Galaxy Academy, he can contribute for his country now.
Come Sept. 4 at the Coliseum, we might just get to see that dream become a reality.