Most 18-year-olds spend their summers spending time with friends, visiting the lake and take their vacations before a possible freshman year of college starts. For David Ochoa, his 18th summer has been a bit busier than the average teenager.
Ochoa recently returned from the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland where he represented the United States under Head Coach Tab Ramos. While at the World Cup, Ochoa featured in two matches for the Stars and Stripes, earning one shutout. The experience for Ochoa, was one that he will never forget.
“It was such a great experience to represent the U.S. at the World Cup,” Ochoa said. “We had a very special group of players together in Poland and we put together some great performances. Getting to play in those matches was incredible.”
Although Ochoa won’t say that he knew early on that he would likely land on the U-20 World Cup roster, he felt confident in his ability, form and standing among the goalkeeping pool that Ramos had the option to select from.
After returning from Poland, Ochoa went straight back to work, featuring for Real Monarchs SLC where he has featured in eight total matches to earn three shutouts on the year. His summer got a bit busier when he was named to the 2019 MLS Homegrown Game roster to face the Chivas de Guadalajara U-20 side the day before the MLS All-Star game in Orlando, Florida. Using his performances at the RSL Academy and the Monarchs, he became the first RSL player to be named to the Homegrown roster having played at the Zions Bank Real Academy in Herriman, Utah.
“I was a bit surprised when I found out that I was invited to the 2019 Homegrown Game in Orlando,” Ochoa said. “I’m excited to be a part of such a special group of young players in MLS. The first thing that came to mind was the current RSL players who have represented the club at the Homegrown game and have gone on to make significant appearances with the team. I’m hopeful I can follow in those footsteps.”
Falling into the unique category of being a goalkeeper, Ochoa has had the opportunity to learn from some of – if not the best – goalkeepers in Major League Soccer, something that Ochoa believes has helped grow his game.
“Having the veterans surrounding me that I’ve had has been extremely valuable for me as a player and as a person,” Ochoa reflected. “Having Nick [Rimando], Alex [Horwath] and even Andrew Putna to learn from has been incredible. Being able to represent the club on a big league stage is also a large credit to them.”