05 August 2011

Brief Conversation with Cosmos PDL Player Marvin Iraheta

New York Cosmos vs. Manchester United
Brief Conversation with Cosmos PDL Player Marvin Iraheta
By: Cesar Diaz

New York, NY- On Friday, August 5, 2011 at 2:30PM EDT on Fox Soccer, the New York Cosmos will become the first American team to ever field a team at Old Trafford when they face England’s legendary Manchester United in the Paul Scholes Testimonial match.

Whenever I see the New York Cosmos and Manchester United together in a sentence, I can’t help but think about how close the Cosmos were close to acquiring Manchester United legendary midfielder George Best back in 1975. Of course the deal fell through but nevertheless, it made for wonderful reading.

New York Cosmos Honorary President Pelé and Director of Soccer Eric Cantona together have assembled a competitive squad consisting of seven Under-23 Cosmos players and 10 former World Cup stars. With players such as Fabio Cannavaro, Brad Friedel, Robbie Keane, and Patrick Vieira to name a few, this Cosmos team maybe able to do something that the MLS All-Stars failed to do against Manchester United and that’s simply score a goal.

To be honest, I had no intention of even writing about this historic match for the simple fact that many publications would. Original plans were to simply hang out with my brothers and sisters from the Borough Boys and watch the contest from Legends NYC (6 West 33rd Street) while pounding a couple of pints of beer.

However, all of that changed on Tuesday, July 26, 2011. After interviewing USMNT legendary goalkeeper Tony Meola for an article for USSoccerPlayers.com, I took off to the MLS All-Star HUB at 82 Mercer St so I can pick up my Media Credentials for July, 27th’s MLS All-Star Game between the MLS All-Stars and Manchester United at Red Bull Arena.

While I’m talking to the Staff, I hear someone shout, “Don’t assist him!” I turn to my right side and there’s the New York Cosmos Vice Chairman Terry Byrne. I laughed and humorously retorted, “Make sure he’s not allowed at Red Bull Arena tomorrow night!”

Following our greeting, we talked for a few minutes. I’ve known Terry as well as the New York Cosmos staff for almost a year now and they’ve always been more than fair with me. Terry’s always been honest with me about the organization’s progress in joining MLS.

During our conversation which many of you would love to have heard, we talked about the current “State of the Cosmos” as well as the upcoming Cosmos - Manchester United match. As we talked about the Cosmos squad, he told me that the PDL team was still in town and that’s where it hit me.

Without missing a beat, I told Terry that while the bigger stars will be talked about, I believe the real story is the PDL players competing in the testimonial match. Continuing with my explanation, I explained to him that it’ll be an excellent topic to discuss considering that they’re going to achieve something monumental that many soccer fans of all ages dream about and that’s play at Old Trafford.

Like a locomotive picking up speed, I assured Terry that I’ll contact USSoccerPlayers.com to see if they’ll approve this story. Following their reply, I would contact the Cosmos front office and to make arrangements.
Needless to say that, I was given the green light interview the PDL players once they’ve returned to the states. Once I contacted the front office about the news, I was offered the opportunity to interview the players before they flew out to England. With the Cosmos Academy practice taking place on Thursday at 7:45pm at Aviator Sports in Brooklyn, I already knew I was going to be one sleep-deprived individual by that time.

For MLS All-Star week I was already booked. With the Juventus-Club America friendly (Tuesday evening), the MLS All Star Media Challenge (Wednesday morning), Supporters Challenge (Wednesday afternoon), the MLS All-Star Match (Wednesday evening), and a guest speaker role for South Bronx United Career Day (Thursday morning - afternoon), I knew this was going to be a tough task.

Between each event I still my articles to write and photos to edit to compliment my articles so they can be online by 5am so I can sleep until 9am. Once I woke up, I would blast each article through my social media while I’m making coffee, brushing my teeth, and reviewing my emails through my iTouch. 

Nevertheless, I jumped at the opportunity to meet the PDL players. I figured if I took power naps between my subway rides, I wouldn’t be too tired. Looking back now, it wasn’t one of my better plans because each nap made me more tired than before.

Thursday evening finally arrived as I dragged myself to Aviator Sports. Despite my body aching and tired eyes, I made it a point to remain standing because if I sat in any of the benches, I would have simply fallen asleep.

It wasn’t necessary because one thing fantastic about covering these games or practices that there are always parents sitting in watching their sons practice. Not only will these parents educate you about the players, they’ll tell you about the team’s overall performance as well as the coaching philosophy.

In between the Academy’s scrimmage matches, some of the players would recognize me and drop by to say hi. During this time, I would ask them in either English or Spanish who should I talk to, majority of them suggested Marvin Iraheta.

One of the players called Marvin over so we can be formally introduced. Basically, that’s how my interview with Marvin was arranged. After we shook hands, I asked Marvin, “¿Español o inglés?” Smiling and beaming with confidence, Marvin answered, “Español por favor.”

While Marvin Iraheta may be recognized as a Cosmos Academy West product who plays defensive midfielder and has been recognized by U.S. Soccer as one of the best players in the country, I got know Marvin as an individual.

Originally born in El Salvador, Marvin moved to the United States two years ago. For many years, Marvin’s father lived in the United States and saved up enough money to bring his family over to the country of opportunity.

Marvin told me that he has two brothers living in Colorado; another remained in El Salvador, and one who lives with his parents in Fresno, California. He admitted that he misses his family but he loves the proverbial doors of opportunity soccer has opened up for him in the United States.

“I’ve only been here for a few years and I’m living the American Dream. To move here from El Salvador and to be living a dream many children worldwide dreams about… life is good,” expressed Marvin.

“Knowing that I’ll be playing with Robbie Keane, Patrick Vieira, and Fabio Cannavaro against Manchester United at         Old Trafford in front of a sold-out crowd is one experience I’ll never forget. I’m also happy that my family will get to see me play on television.”

While we talked about his family and adjustment in the United States, we also talked about In N Out and education. “If I miss one thing about California is In N Out, I miss their Double-Double burgers,” reminisced Marvin. “To be honest I haven’t made up but my mind but I definitely want a degree in either Engineering or Finance,” stated Marvin.

Following our conversation, Marvin agreed to grant me a follow-up interview following the Paul Scholes Testimonial Match. I wished him the best of luck and I stayed for the duration of the practice, met some of the other players while I listened to some of the parents passionately tell met their stories about watching the Cosmos at the Meadowlands.

With practice concluded at 10:30pm, one of the player’s fathers offered me a car ride to the train station in Queens. Without hesitating, I accepted his offer. I must admit that nothing is cooler (at for me) than riding back to the city with a couple of players from the Cosmos Academy who maybe possibly playing for the New York Cosmos if and win they’re formally accepted into Major League Soccer.

Cesar Diaz is the Soccer Editor for LatinoSports.com. He also writes for 5 Points Press & USSoccerPlayers.com; your source for American Soccer news brought to you by members of the U.S. National Team. Easily accessible, you may reach Cesar at [email protected] and at Twitter at @CoveringSoccer.