In 2017, Douglas Martinez was in Tokyo preparing for the U20 World Cup where he was going to represent Honduras. Alongside teammate Dylan Andrade, he wrote his career goals over the next four years on a piece of paper and taped it on the wall in his hotel room. At the top of the list was representing Honduras at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Four years later, he accomplished that goal.
The RSL striker knew leading up to his departure for Tokyo that he was going to be a part of history playing for the fourth team in history to qualify for its fourth consecutive Olympic Games.
“The experience in Tokyo was amazing. It was unbelievable. To be able to play against the kind of competition we did on the world stage was something I’ll remember forever,” Martinez reflected. “As a player it was a challenge to compete and show your quality and discipline as a professional. As a Honduran, I feel grateful for the opportunity I had to represent a country that loves soccer, where the Olympics is everything. It’s an honor to play for your loved ones and friends and there isn’t a better place to do that than the Olympics.”
Drawn into a group with South Korea, Romania and New Zealand, Martinez and Honduras failed to advance beyond the Group Stage following a loss to South Korea on the final group matchday. But despite falling short of his goal to surpass Honduras’ run to the Olympic semifinals in 2016, Martinez took plenty away from his time in Tokyo both personally and professionally.
“Once you get to the Olympic games, you start to realize what it truly means to be an Olympian,” Martinez explained. “You start to understand just how exclusive the Olympic Games are when you see all of the athletes who have worked to compete at the highest level in their sport come together to chase the same goal. For me it’s hard to describe. When you realize that you are one of those athletes from a country that thrives on soccer, you understand just how important your representation is.”
Having the opportunity to compete in the Olympics can often be viewed as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and to fulfill that opportunity and still be young enough to possibly compete in another Olympic Games is something that Martinez doesn’t take for granted. Driven by hard work and a passion for his country and the game, Martinez now looks to elevate his path as a professional player to help RSL and Honduras succeed.
Since his arrival at the RSL organization prior the 2019 season, Martinez has seen a steady rise in success due to his hard work and love for the game. A USL Championship title-winner with Real Monarchs, Martinez earned a contract with RSL following 2019 which he says was one of his goals but while working to contribute at the club level, Martinez knew his work would pay off to achieve his Olympic dream.
Three days after his arrival back to Utah from Japan, Martinez started for the Real Monarchs against San Diego Loyal SC on August 7. His reintroduction to the club following a month away with Honduras took just 40 seconds into the match when he slammed home the eventual game-winning goal to mark the fastest goal in Monarchs history.
“Now that I’m back from the Olympics I’m just looking to help out my club with my assists and goals. It’s been a difficult year for me on the club level because I’ve been away with my national team so much. So now I’m excited to be back helping my teammates to win games,” Martinez said. “If I keep training and working like I have been, then more success will come for not only me but for the club as well. Using the experience from the Olympics I can now do the absolute best I can to help my family here at RSL.”
Real Salt Lake is back in action on Saturday, August 14 when it hosts 2021 MLS expansion team Austin FC at Rio Tinto Stadium. A limited number of tickets are still available by visiting RSL.com.