It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it in Spanish, but “happy wife, happy life” is an axiom that translates to all cultures. For Raúl Fernández, it’s one of a number of factors that has seen the Peruvian national team goalkeeper ease into life at FC Dallas.
“My wife was the happiest when she heard about the news,” Fernández, who is married to an American, told MLSsoccer.com through a translator. “She was like, ‘Let’s go!’ It’s her country and I’m very happy to just be here. My wife is happy and the kids are great.”
The smile is certainly back on Fernández’s face after a rocky 18 months with his previous club, OGC Nice. Stationed behind Colombian national team starter David Ospina, Fernández rarely saw the pitch in France, and knew he had a tough decision to make when the opportunity with FC Dallas presented itself.
“More than anything, I did a lot of research with a lot of people with the club,” said Fernández. “I really familiarized myself with it and I felt that this would be the best fit for me. I don’t have a doubt in my mind about it.”
For a 27-year-old South American national team starter entering the prime of his career moving from a top European league to Major League Soccer, that’s quite a serious statement. In reality, however, it’s a tide that has been turning for a few years now.
“I think MLS is obviously increasing [in stature] very rapidly,” said Fernández. “Not only myself, but very important and great players like Peter Luccin and [Thierry] Henry. It’s obviously getting better. That’s one of the main reasons why a lot of players from national teams in South America have no regrets in coming here.”
With his long-term career and home life squared away for the foreseeable future, all that’s left on the docket of the Peruvian is a return to consistent playing time. Fernández led his national team side to a 2-0 shutout win over Trinidad & Tobago last Wednesday, and made his FC Dallas debut on Sunday in 3-0 friendly win over Mexican side Atlante's U-20s in Cancún.
Known as “Superman” back in his home country, Fernández still remains a bit of an unknown to most in Frisco with just a few training sessions under his belt. But opening weekend is less than three weeks away and he knows what he has to do.
“In Peru, they call me [Superman] because of the way that I play,” Fernández said with a smile. “When it’s my turn here, you’ll see."