CHESTER, Pa. – After 20 years together from birth through college, twin brothers Michael and Gabriel Farfan split.
Michael transferred from Cal State Fullerton to the University of North Carolina so he could face tougher competition. Gabriel left the same school at the same time for the same reason – but to pursue a professional opportunity with Mexican Primera División giants Club América.
Now, after their separate soccer journeys pushed them 2000 miles apart, the brothers from San Diego are back together, teammates on the Philadelphia Union. Their lockers are even side-by-side.
“It’s awesome we found each other again,” Gabriel told MLSsoccer.com.
While Michael was drafted by Philadelphia in the second round of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, Gabriel joined the club as a preseason trialist. He said his decision to leave Mexico was a difficult one but was largely rooted in finding a way to get more playing time.
“I loved it,” Gabriel said. “I’ll never forget the experience I had down there. To be playing with one of the best clubs in the world and to be training with guys who have been to several World Cups is pretty interesting. I was with the first team the entire time I was training with them, I just never got to debut. I’d train with them and drop down to [the reserve team] to play in games.”
Gabriel officially signed with the Union just one day before the season began, but wasted no time making an impact, coming off the bench in both of the club’s first two games to help secure the win. Michael has yet to see any action.
The ex-América player says he’s comfortable in a reserve role and also playing a variety of positions.
“I’m pretty versatile,” Gabriel said. “If you need an attacking option, I can bring that. I can also defend and have been playing outside back the last year or so. Wherever the coach thinks I fit with the team, I have no preference.”
His only preference is to share his success with his family. And now that one of his family members is literally right by his side, that won’t be a problem.
“It’s amazing,” Gabriel said. “It’s a dream come true is what it really is. All our lives we grew up playing together. Our dream was always to become a professional, and to play on the exact same professional team is pretty incredible.”