Oh brother, does Alex Roldan want to become an MLS star.
In fact, his brother’s stardom has motivated him in his progression through the soccer ranks.
Cristian Roldan, a rising star for the powerhouse Seattle Sounders FC, has served as a role model for his kid brother ever since they played backyard soccer with a makeshift net in their hometown of Pico Rivera, Calif.
The competition was fierce on the little patch of grass behind their house where their father, Cesar, made goal posts out of old PVC pipes. Inevitably, no matter what sport the brothers played, a fight would break out.
“I was the younger sibling so I got bullied,” Alex said smiling, “but it shaped me into the person and player I am today.
“My brother’s been a tremendous inspiration for me,” added Alex, a midfielder who played four years at Seattle University. “Following in his footsteps was my motivation going into college. I’ve got some big shoes to fill since he’s such a big name in the league, but hopefully I can replicate (his success).”
Actually, Alex has two brothers in MLS. Cristian, of course, helped Seattle get to the MLS Cup final against eventual champion Toronto this season while the oldest sibling, Cesar, is a trainer with the Colorado Rapids. The three boys grew up in a family that lived and breathed soccer.
Mother Ana was born in El Salvador, where many of her relatives were soccer stars, including a nephew, José Granadino, who represented the country’s national team. The three Roldan brothers have always drawn inspiration from the sacrifices made by their parents, both of whom escaped war-torn countries in El Salvador and Guatemala.
“When you hear their stories, it gives you the motivation and drive because you know what they went through,” Alex said. “I am so proud of my parents. They gave us a better situation, a better opportunity and put us in the position to succeed. It’s up to us to take advantage of it.”
Even though he’s a bit of a tweener, it’s this background and these bloodlines that may elevate Alex Roldan in the upcoming MLS SuperDraft.
“Of course, pedigree is something you always look at,” Minnesota United FC assistant coach Ian Fuller said. “You want players who grew up in soccer families. His brother obviously has a great mentality and the hope is that he’s adopted some of that.”