The 21-year-old left back was involved in perhaps the biggest game of his short career this past Sunday, when he went 90 minutes in Saprissa’s 1-0 Clásico de Costa Rica win against bitter rivals Alajuelense.
The game was even spicier than usual this time around due to both teams being in the playoff race and it showed in the bleachers.
“Before the game started the locker room was shaking from all the people jumping on top,” Hernandez told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday by phone from San José. “It was a great experience pulling up outside the stadium, with all the people outside.”
Hernandez – who was in Guatemala with Comunicaciones last season – has earned a regular starting spot at left back for Saprissa this season and has been pleased with his form in the Central American nation’s first division. He thinks his play has put him in good stead for the future and a potential return to FC Dallas.
“I think this is great for my career, playing in front of packed stadiums, people just screaming the whole game,” said Hernandez, who hasn’t officially debuted for FC Dallas in MLS. “You can’t even hear your teammates, you can’t hear the ref blow the whistle, so it’s going to help me in my career for sure and be more ready for the games as I get older."
Although being without family has undoubtedly been hard at times, as it would for any youngster, the former US U-20 player firmly believes the experience of moving to a foreign country is good for personal development and would advise others to follow in his footsteps.
“It’d be a great experience to come and get some playing time, to come to a different country to learn different things and grow up and get out of the comfort zone,” said Hernandez.
The prospect of a league championship is also a possibility for Hernandez this season, with Saprissa in third place in the league (the top four qualify for the playoffs in Costa Rica), and just four games in the regular season to go.
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.