As told to Sam Stejskal
1) When I got here I had long, long rattails, I had like a huge mohawk but two of my teammates shaved my head during preseason. I dyed it after I grew it back, but I had to dye it a couple times and I ended up looking like a complete skunk for a while. And then I got it shaved again two weeks ago, this time by the whole team and they ended up putting holes all over my hair. It’s cool though. I’m not going to stop growing it back.
2) My hairstyle is actually the normal style back at home in Colombia. For me it’s kind of like a thing where it reminds me of where I’m from.
3) Some people will say, “Oh I like it, I like the hair,” and other people you know that they’re like “What in the world is that?” They just give me the double take.
4) When I was 17 I actually had a tryout with FC Barcelona. Somehow a guy from Barcelona was visiting my hometown of Greenville, South Carolina, and there was like a secret little camp they were doing with a bunch of guys from all over. I got an invite from one of my youth coaches and eventually was selected to go to Spain.
5) At first they said they were going to take me to a second division team, but then we saw the Barcelona B team and the third team practice and the coach asked me if I thought I could train there and I said yes. It was a dream. Barcelona was my favorite team and I actually did well enough for them to ask me to stay for six months at my own expense. I didn’t do that but it was still a great experience.
6) I’ve actually known my RSL teammate Enzo Martinez since we were 12 years old. We started out on rival club teams but I eventually joined his squad and we ended up winning nationals as U-18’s.
7) It was so amazing to get drafted by RSL with Enzo this year. Never in my life did I think we’d play professionally together. So the draft was just so special. I know his family, he knows my family and it was just like, “Wow, we’re on the same team now.” Now I see him every day. I’m almost tired of seeing him… Ha.
8) I was always scared to get a tattoo, but I told myself if I scored a professional goal I’ll get one. So when I scored my first goal against Chicago in the reserve game, I was just so excited that I went and got it as soon as I got off the field. I got one of my nickname – which is Tian – and the date I scored inside a star on my arm. Now I’m actually kind of addicted.
9) I love living in Utah. Everybody’s so nice and it’s just a nice environment. There’s a lot of stuff to do for me, I always go to the arcades, go play video games, ride go-karts and stuff. I’m clearly just a kid.
10) I actually recently did the outdoors thing and went camping, but we got caught in a storm at 1 a.m. and had to leave. The tent blew over, food was blowing off the grill – I had sausages flying everywhere – and we had to get out of there pretty quick. That was pretty intense, but Salt Lake’s been great so far. I’ve really liked it.