Bryan Leyva is a Star in the Making for F.C. Dallas
Off the field, he looks like your average high school aged kid, hanging out with teammates, going shopping, and playing video games.
But on the field, he is unlike most high schoolers. In fact he is unlike most people on this planet.
Bryan Leyva, though only 18 years old, has the majestic touch and dribbling ability, and that if he continues to improve, could rival that of some of the top players in the world, including Bayern Munich midfielder Arjen Robben, A.C. Milan midfielder Ronaldihno, and Barcelona midfielder Xabi Hernandez.
The Mexican starlet also made history last year, when he signed professional terms with F.C. Dallas, becoming their first ever academy signing.
On April 27, 2010, on the campus of Indiana University, Leyva and his Mexican U-20 team coached by former El Tri member Juan Carlos Chavez, took on the Indiana Hoosiers men's soccer team.
With a large crowd on hand, including at least half of them dressed in the iconic green Mexico jersey, Indiana and Mexico U-20 kicked off for just the fifth time in history.
Leyva and teammate Gil Cordero played together as attacking midfielders, playing off each other, dribbling through two or more Hoosier defenders at a time, and helping provide a patient attack from Mexico.
However the aggressiveness and physicality of Indiana was too much for El Tri to handle, and Mexico U-20 lost 2-0.
After the game, in the team hotel, Jeff Gordon, Juan Gamarra, and Daniel Karell spoke with Leyva. Here is the full transcript:
On the team's ineffectiveness in front of the net:
"I think we didn't create enough [chances], because we had three clear chances, but I think that's not enough, and I think we should have created more, and kept a zero [clean sheet]."
On facing teams that play a physical style of soccer:
"For us, its harder to play a very physical team than a technical team, because that's our style", said Leyva. "But I think we played hard, and even though we didn't score, that's soccer sometimes."
On the large amount of Mexico fans that came to the game:
"We didn't really expect that many people to come see us, its always great to play in front of a big crowd. Its fantastic, all the guys loved it and we talked about it [after the game]."
On the growth of the squad through out the USA trip:
"I think the team got better as the games went on, some of the guys are new to the team, and they adjusted very well, but the important thing is that the team gave it's best, and that we are getting better."
On playing in friendly games in a foreign country:
"Its hard because of the traveling. [On this trip] We were stuck in the airport for 14 hours because we missed a flight, and then it was a six hour drive from Chicago to here [Bloomington]. Some of the guys also don't like the food so they wont eat much. Its different and I think we have to adjust to all these things, but its no excuse, we should have won [tonight]."
On the overall experience of this trip through the USA:
"We love to come here, everything is great, the shopping, going to the mall. A lot of the guys love the mall because its not as easy to buy clothes over there [in Mexico], but the guys love it here and its a great experience for us to play these teams."
On passing time during the day:
"We play alot of FIFA, its a great way to pass the time."
On the difference between Mexican players and American players:
"I think the biggest difference is that the Mexican players are all dying to play for the first team. Even when they play U-16, they are looking to the first team, and they are working every day in practice trying to make it, even at a young age. There are some players that are 16, 17 years old and on the first team. And I think putting younger players with the older ones is great."
On the significance of Javier Hernandez signing for Manchester United:
"Its great, I mean, here's a guy who played for the U-20 in Mexico, and we saw him every day in practice [when we were in the U-17], and for him to go to Manchester, its very motivational for all of us that he did it, and he was in our spot just two or three years ago."
On his decision to sign with MLS and FC Dallas:
"Basically, my family wanted to live here [in the USA], and I got offered a very good contract with the first team."
On MLS and the Mexican league being a stepping stone to playing in Europe:
"Yea of course, every player that plays in MLS and Mexico wants to do well, and they know if they play well, their next step is Europe."
On being accepted by his teammates at FC Dallas:
"They're very good with me, they help me out a lot. I'm very happy to be there, its a great atmosphere, everyones really nice and supportive, and that helps a young player [like myself]. They give me a lot of advice, and they joke around a lot with me, of course the Rookie stuff."
On "Rookie" initiation:
They made me do a lot of things, like picking up the balls after practice. They joke around with me, asking me if my mom is picking me up after practice, or taking me to practice. Its all good though [said with a chuckle]."
On when he wants to debut for the Mexican National Team:
"I want to play with them in two years, that's what I want."
On his dream club to play for:
"I think Real Madrid, even though they aren't doing so well [with a chuckle]. I was there [once], and I just love the fans and its just a big club."
On his Football Idol:
"Of all time, I would say Ronaldo (Former Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, and A.C. Milan striker), I think he is just phenomenal. The best player of right now, Lionel Messi (Midfielder for Barcelona), without a doubt."
On playing for Mexico:
"Its always an honor you know, every kid who'se ever touched a soccer ball [in Mexico] whether its amateur or just in the street, their dream is to play for the National Team, and we do our best to stay here, because its not that easy, with a lot of people trying out, and everyone wanting to be here."
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