If you are tuning into the season opener for Real Salt Lake you will see the first rookie since 2006 to start for Real Salt Lake. It is Sebastian, this is his story in his own words.
Sebastian Velasquez recently posted the following on his facebook page, I asked him if I could post it here because I think it is a great story. It is yet another example of a young man who refused to give up on his dreams, and I wish him the best in life and as a part of Real Salt Lake and the RSL family.
I Am Sebastian Velasquez!!
I was born in Medellin, Colombia! At 2yrs old, my mom brought me to the United States to seek a future for the both of us. She worked very hard to help me follow my dreams and she always knew that all I wanted to do was play professional soccer. I played club soccer growing up but I was always waiting for the opportunity to try out for a professional team.
In 11 grade, at 17 yrs old, the biggest opportunity of my life was right in front of me, a tryout with Barcelona FC youth academy. I had a hard decision to make which were to leave school and tryout or stay in school and not tryout. I decided to leave school and get my GED and then tryout. I spent 7 days in Barcelona and it was the greatest youth experience of my life but at the same time it affected my life for a long time.
The rest of his story after the jump:
Things did not work out and I found myself in a hard situation which was trying to figure out what I was gonna do with my life because not making Barcelona really dropped my confidence especially not having something to fall back on like school. I decided to keep trying out and then my next tryout was at Espanyol Fc for "El Draft." I was there for a week and half but things did work out and that was the even harder because everyone thought I was gonna make it!! But I didnt give up.
I came back to the States and I decided to attend college and try to go through that route. God bless Spartanburg Methodist College for letting me apart of their school and helping me with all the expenses and housing. As soon as I moved to college, my mother moved back to Colombia because she was going through a tough depression not having me at home at all times. When she left, my life changed completely and I became a man. I had to take care of my own but I was really for the challenge because I've always been from the streets and I knew I could survive.
The only reason I didnt move back with my mother was to play able to get a chance to play in Division 1 College and then get drafted to the MLS. I knew I had the fight in me to at least get to D1 and pray for the best to get seen by someone to be put in the Draft. I played for SMC for two years and I had great seasons thanks to my teammates and my coaches in which I was verbally committing to Clemson. But as soon as the season ended, I received the WORST call ever in which I couldnt go to college anymore because of the tryouts I had overseas.
Everything turned around in less than a second. I didnt know what to think or where to go. I started making very bad decisions such as drinking and messing up so I decided to leave this country and just got back home. In my mind, I was gonna go back to Colombia to live with my mom and who knows where i would of been, on the streets maybe.
A couple of days before my flight, I decied to show my appreciation to Clemson for the interest and help but that call gave me the biggest opportunity of my life: a tryout with Real Salt Lake. After that tryout, I got drafted and now I am a professional soccer player of Real Salt Lake. My message to everyone is never give up on your dream. God will put you through many situations to test you, but just as long as you never lose faith and you fight for you want, God one day will give you his blessing when He thinks your ready to live you dream.
If I can do it, I know everyone can do it. - Tian
When things get tough this year for RSL, I know that this young man will be one of the guys who keeps looking for the positive and keeps going forward. You can follow him on twitter (@TiaN_Futbol) or on his facebook page.
That is a very good thing for RSL.
OFF MY SOAPBOX