ORLANDO, Fla. — It wasn’t easy growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for Sergio Rivas.
The midfielder went to Seattle University to escape his surroundings and make the most of his dream of one day playing soccer.
Rivas spoke recently with Pro Soccer USA about the 2019 MLS Player Combine and his time playing collegiate soccer.
Q: What are your thoughts on the MLS Combine?
Sergio Rivas: “For me, being a very underdog, I took the chance I have here at the combine to do the best I can. It’s a hard place to be, playing with different players and coaches. It’s hard, but I have to adjust, and I think I’ve done well for the coaches to understand.”
Q: What is some feedback you’ve received from the coaches?
SR: “The teams have been having interviews with the players here, and the feedback is many coaches see me as a No. 8 rather than a No. 10. So, it’s been really great conversations I’ve had, and it’s allowed me to explore other areas in the field where I can play as well.”
Q: How was it growing up in New Mexico?
SR: “Growing up in Albuquerque, sometimes the crime rate is high. It’s a hard place to live since many things can pull you down. In terms of soccer, it’s good when a good player comes out of New Mexico because it gives other young kids inspiration about playing professionally.”
Q: Are there any emotions going into the MLS SuperDraft?
SR: “I’m excited, but taking it day by day. We have one more day to play. It’s always exciting to see where you’re going to go. I’m just very focused on what I do on the field and off the pitch, I also have to remain humble.”
Q: Where do you want to see yourself playing professionally? Any particular team?
SR: “Whatever team selects me, I’ll be happy. But, my favorite place to go is San Jose because of the coach that’s there in Matías Almeyda. I remember seeing a video of him where he shows how committed he is to development and giving players chances. But playing in San Jose would be great for my family to visit.”
Q: How was playing soccer at Seattle University?
SR: “When they told me it rains a lot, they’re not lying. It’s been a great experience. Our coaches do a good job. They teach us values that we’re going to need for the rest of our lives. It’s because of that, it’s made me who I am.”
Team Copa's Mitchell Osmond, left, and JJ Williams battle for the ball during a training session at the professional soccer MLS Player Combine Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (Phelan M. Ebenhack for the Orlando Sentinel)