While the biggest stars in Major League Soccer saw the spotlight on Wednesday night in the 2019 MLS All-Star Game, Real Salt Lake goalkeeper David Ochoa took the opportunity to shine in two different events on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old RSL Academy product first played 29 shutout minutes in the 2019 MLS Homegrown Game, as the mix of MLS youngsters topped the Chivas de Guadalajara U-20s in a shootout after playing to a 2-2 draw. Ochoa made two saves in keeping the match level at 1-1 during his stint on either side of halftime.
“It’s just like any other game so I was just going out there and playing my game. I felt good, going out there and playing with a talented group of players is always good,” Ochoa said after the match. “You’ve just got to play your game and enjoy yourself.”
Then, following a brief break, he stepped in front of the net while the likes of Nani, Carlos Vela, Wayne Rooney and Joao Felix fired shots in the Skills Challenge, providing a different and unique opportunity to showcase his talents while also facing shots from some top players from around the world.
As much as he enjoyed the competition of the Homegrown Game, he could hardly contain his excitement when it came time to get ready to play his small role in the Skills Challenge.
“I’m pumped. It’s going to be good taking some shots from Carlos Vela and guys from Atletico like Joao Felix,” he beamed. “I’m excited. It’s going to be cool.”
Already a veteran of 10 USL Championship matches this season and with several appearances on the bench for Real Salt Lake and a run with the U.S. U-20 National Team at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, he can now add the All-Star experience to his resume. With that in his rearview mirror, Ochoa will return to Utah with hopes of continuing his adventurous journey through his first professional season.