With Austin FC still a year away from playing its first Major League Soccer game, Hector Valenzuela is in many ways on the front line of competition for the expansion side as its eMLS representative.
The 30-year-old, known as @YoungH, competed in eMLS events in January and February, traveling to Philadelphia and Portland. He was preparing himself for his biggest challenge to date — the 2020 eMLS Cup — on his home turf when the coronavirus pandemic broke.
Now Valenzuela is making an impact as an essential worker, delivering needed goods at H-E-B supermarkets curbside.
“I’ve had tons of people come up to me and thank me for being there. I never know what to say,” he said. “It’s not that I’m not grateful they’re thanking me, I’m just here doing my everyday job that I would be doing no matter what,” he told the Austin American-Statesman.
“It has made me appreciate all of us that are there, that maybe we deserve a certain minimum cap of what we should be paid. We are there while other businesses are forced to be closed and we’re forced to be open. H-E-B has been so great though, about everything. They’re creating a lot of new jobs for a lot of people that probably didn’t have jobs during this time.”
Read more of Valenzuela’s story, including his encounter with an Austin FC fan, from the Statesman’s story.