Mexico’s Marin living national team dream
Mexico’s Hedgardo Marin (pictured) celebrates after scoring against El Salvador in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on July 9, 2017, in San Diego, California, USA. (Photo: AFP Services)

BOULDER, Colorado -- When Hedgardo Marin received a call up to Mexico for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, fans and media members asked questions.

After all, the 24-year-old did not have much international experience, earning only four caps at the under-20 level and five with the senior squad.  Plus, at Guadalajara, the defender had only 30 Liga MX games under his belt.

But that didn’t keep his dream from coming to life.  Marin wanted to score for the national team.  And he did just that, heading Mexico into a 1-0 lead in Sunday’s Gold Cup opener against El Salvador, which ended 3-1 in favor of the defending champion.

“I feel very good and very satisfied with what I have done,” Marin said.  “I want to demonstrate to the coach that I can respond when called upon.”

Marin was a starter in Mexico’s Gold Cup warm-up matches against Ghana and Paraguay, but he was not guaranteed a spot in the first XI going forward.  A knee injury to Jair Pereira, however, opened the way for Marin to get additional playing time.  Now, he’s ready to take the next step.

“I think I played well (in the last game),” remarked Marin.  “But I need to keep working to win that spot.  There’s tough competition there.  The coaches have a lot of confidence in me and I am thankful for that.  I need to show what I can do and respond, work more.”

Marin’s goal against El Salvador was only his second as a professional. His first was with Chivas against Pachuca during the 2016 Liga MX Apertura.

“Scoring with the national team was something beautiful,” Marin finished.  “You always dream about scoring while wearing your country’s jersey.”