FRISCO, Texas – As Mexico clinched a spot in the quarterfinals at the London Olympics, El Tri youth international goalkeeper Richard Sanchez watched from thousands of miles away, keeping up his hard work on the training field and preparing for his own opportunity.
“[Playing in the Olympics] is one of the biggest goals that I have,” Sanchez told MLSsoccer.com after Wednesday's training. “You have the World Cup where some countries participate, but at the Olympics all the countries are there setting records and breaking records. It’s just special in general.”
Sanchez called his goal of playing for Mexico at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics a dream, but if he continues on his current track, it will likely be a reality.
The 18-year-old ‘keeper led Mexico to the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup crown and has recently become a major part of Mexico’s preparations in qualifying for the 2013 U-20 World Cup in Turkey. Sanchez just returned from a month with the Mexican Under-20 national team, winning the Lev Yashin Cup in Russia and the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland.
“It was great and I think it helps us in getting a lot of exposure,” Sanchez said. “It’s helped me a lot as well, just great experiences all around.”
In fact, appearances at FCD training have become somewhat of a rarity for the young goalkeeper lately, though head coach Schellas Hyndman doesn’t seem to mind.
“You really couldn’t draw a better plan,” Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com. “Let’s say he wasn’t part of the Mexican national team; then what he would be doing is training with the first team and playing with the academy. We hope that he’s past that stage of playing with the academy.”
His strong youth national team performances have not gone unnoticed internationally either. Sanchez trained with Petr Cech and Chelsea FC earlier this spring and Hyndman, who has called him the best young goalkeeper he has ever seen, thinks more could be watching.
“He’s getting tremendous international experience and he’s also on people’s radar,” Hyndman said. “If he keeps impressing, he may get an invitation from a Chelsea or Real Madrid or a big-name professional international team because they saw him in Russia or the Milk Cup.”
For Sanchez, it’s all about dreaming big while staying grounded.
“Whether here with FC Dallas or the national team, I just always dream," he beamed. "Dream of being at the highest level and, if you persevere, it helps you a lot and that’s what’s helped me.”