Marroquin seizes El Salvador opportunity
El Salvador’s Ruben Marroquin (#23) acknowledges the fans after a CONCACAF Gold Cup match on July 16, 2017, in San Antonio, Texas, USA. (Photo: AFP)

SAN ANTONIO, Texas –El Salvador defender Ruben Marroquin was filled with nerves prior to Sunday’s 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup match against Jamaica at the Almodome.  

He was having trouble containing his emotions.  It wasn’t until head coach Eduardo Lara read him a motivational quote about suppressing fear that the tension he was feeling eased.

It turned out the tactic worked.

Marroquin was all smiles after the game, a 1-1 draw that sent El Salvador to the quarterfinals against the United States.

“This was something I didn’t expect,” said Marroquin about being in the starting lineup and earning his first cap.  “And the fact that I made my debut playing on the left tells me the coaches and teammates have a lot of confidence in me.”

There was enough confidence on the pitch that Marroquin was able to assist on Nelson Bonilla’s 15th-minute goal.

“That play was very important to me in my debut,” the 25-year-old expressed.  “It was a very difficult play, but when the goal went in I was really happy.  To have an assist on my debut was very important.  I think I played well.  We were looking for the win, but I am happy for the work the group has done, so that we can reach great things.”

El Salvador will face the United States in the quarterfinals on Wednesday in Philadelphia and Marroquin is hoping to play.

“The most important thing for a football player is to play for the national team and maybe play abroad,” he finished.  “That’s a motivational factor.  But you need to earn all that by working hard on the field.”