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Hinchas y Jugadores - An exclusive interview with Daniel Huertas (6th May, 2017)

When did you make the decision to pursue football and what motivated you to do so?

I was born with a ball in my feet honestly. My uncle and godfather (Juan Sabas) was a professional soccer player for teams like Atlético de Madrid, Betis and Rayo Vallecano, so I basically grew up watching soccer every single day. I always wanted to be a professional soccer player and that is what motivates me to keep fighting for my dreams.

How did it feel like being approached by Leganés, and then by Sanse?

I was lucky to be formed in the academy of Leganés, I played there for 6 years and what I am as a soccer player is because of that team. They gave me everything. I felt like at home every single day there. I decided to leave Leganés and play for Sanse because my uncle was the coach and I wanted to learn from him and have him as a coach. It was probably the year where I learned the most.

You played for Leganés B in the Liga Nacional Juvenil and then for Leganés in the Division de Honor Juvenil - did you feel a future first team opportunity was coming your way?

Yes I did. My last year in Leganés I practiced every day with the first team and I was really close to make my debut with them. But unfortunately it ended up not happening but it was a team full of great players and I learned so much from them.

What motivated you to move to Iona College in New York and what were your initial thoughts on the idea of leaving Madrid? Was it a difficult decision to leave Spain?

Well when I got the offer from Iona College it wasn't easy to make my decision. But at the end you have to think that the career of a soccer player is so short and after it you need something, and here I have the possibility of studying and playing at a high level at the same time, also I felt that they really wanted me to come and that made everything easier. I expected a lot from this but definitely it's been better than I thought.

Did you feel welcome in New York and how easy or difficult was it for you to adapt? 

I was lucky that when I came we were 5 Spanish players on the team and they helped me a lot specially the first months when my English wasn't too good. But also I love New York and I love the people here. They try to help me always and that makes everything easier when you are away from home.

Do you think that more Spanish players and technical staff will move to the United States in the future?

Yes and I hope so. Soccer is growing so fast in America and it's going to make it bigger if players from Europe keep coming here to play or to coach.

How different are the playing and coaching styles in Spain compared to where you are, and do you think players in the United States are ready for the European leagues?

At Iona our coaches are very "Spanish" when it comes to playing. They like to keep the ball and that is what I've been doing since I was little. But it's true that I've played against teams that are not like that, strong teams that don't want the ball and feel comfortable giving the ball away. I'm not saying I have something against that but it is definitely not the kind of soccer that I like. And yes I've seen a lot of American players that would do great in Europe, but it's true that it's not an easy move. But I'm sure more and more players will go to play overseas.

How would you describe your stint in New York so far?

I came here knowing what I wanted and every day I train hard for it. So far it's been really nice time in New York, not just as a soccer player but also out of the field. It's a city that makes you fall in love with everything. And also I feel comfortable playing here, and I really hope to stay here for a long time.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans are to finish my career at Iona doing a great job and after that we'll see what the future brings me but I would love to play here in the MLS, but it's true that I would love to come back to play soccer in Europe.

What do you do in your free time?

I spend time with my friends, we go to Manhattan and act like we are tourists because there is something always new that you can do in this big city!

A huge thanks to Daniel for taking the time to do this!



This interview was also published on BarcaBlaugranes.com. You can read it here.

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