* Brian Jennings has covered the Rapids for Soccer365.com since 2002. He has also written Know Your Rapids" features on Clint Irwin, Dillon Powers, Deshorn Brown, Chris Klute, and Nathan Sturgis. Feel free to direct any questions or comments to Brian Jennings on twitter @MLSfrom5280 or the comments below.
In a special edition of “Know Your Rapids” we present a conversation with Vicente Sanchez for all of our English-speaking fans with the help of Rapids Director of Media Relations David Lindholm. The interview was conducted in the last week the team was together.
Prior to joining the Rapids in early August this year, Sanchez had played at the top level in Mexico, Germany, and most recently in Uruguay. He is also a veteran of 31 caps for the Uruguayan national team. His energy level, skill on the ball, and vision of the field and his teammates has been evident since day one in Colorado for the diminutive midfielder. Fans should be looking forward to a healthy Vicente Sanchez in 2014 and a player looking to make a huge contribution over an entire season.
We took a few minutes with the Uruguayan international to talk about his early days of futbol, how MLS stacks up against his travels, and his impending fatherhood.
Goal: Sanchez's first in MLS
Question: Growing up, who got you involved in soccer?
Vicente: "My older brothers. They are actually really good players. One is a goalkeeper and the other is a defender. It was the relationship I had with them and they always put me on the right path."
As you grew older, why did you stick with the game?
"It’s a way of life in Uruguay. Soccer is the maximum. It’s the best. Everybody lives football there from when you’re very young - 6 or 7 years old. To be fair I never saw anything other than soccer."
How did you get tied-in to Colorado?
"I came for (Head Coach) Oscar (Pareja). He called me six months ago and I wasn’t able to come at that time because I had a contract with Nacional in Uruguay. When that season ended and I had another offer, economically it made much more sense, but when Oscar explained to me the idea of the club - it was a young team, a team that was able to accomplish some things, the intentions of the club were at the top - I talked to Paul Bravo and I was able to come here because of Oscar."
- Sanchez on wanting to return in 2014: "Or course"
- Sanchez played playoff match with broken bone in shoulder
Assist: Sanchez quick corner
"When I came here it surprised me even more than I thought. It’s a league that’s getting a lot better. It’s similar to what I saw in Germany which is one of the best leagues in the world. What I saw in this club I saw a lot of in Germany. We’re already very competitive. The last day of the season you don’t know who’s going to qualify first, second, or third so that makes it very interesting."
Speaking of Germany and the other leagues, countries you’ve played in, have you found MLS similar…different?
"The league here in America offers everything to grow as a footballer: nice fields, nice facilities. Everything here is set up to make you grow day after day. In other countries, it seems like they’re asking more of you but they are able to give back a little less."
What do you enjoy doing when you’re outside of football?
Sanchez: Respect the Rapids
"These days I’m studying English, my wife is three months pregnant and it is my first child, and I rest. Training is strong, it’s hard, and you have to be really professional to play in this league. Physically it’s really strong. Mostly it’s just recovering for the next day."
Are you nervous or excited about becoming a father for the first time?
"I haven’t had too much time to think about that yet. I’m very calm. When April comes I’ll be a little more nervous. It’s a new experience but I’m hoping everything goes well and I can give all that happiness to my child that I want to in that time."