Q/A with Diego Orenelas

Diego Orenelas is a Mexican junior at the University of Tampa majoring in Sports Management. His passion for all sports began when he was very young. However, soccer was the sport that he fell in love with.

Diego Orenelas on UT’s soccer field.

When did you start playing soccer and why?

D: I started to play soccer when I was eight years old. The reason why I chose soccer was because it was the sport that I enjoyed the most as a kid and up to this day.

According to the roster, you play as a midfielder, why?

D: I actually started to play as a striker. When I started playing college soccer, one of my coaches in California thought I would fit in more as a midfielder. I enjoy playing as a midfielder because I feel like I’m more involved in the game.

What is your role in the team?

D: My role in the team this semester is helping out by motivating my teammates to work hard. I am in a difficult position because I am currently a redshirt, which means I only get to train and not play official games. Once I get all my credits transferred, I will be able to play.

Who is your idol and why?

D: My soccer idol is Javier “Chicharito” Hernández because he is the perfect definition of “never give up”. He’s been through rough times as a player, and learning his story motivated me to push myself even when people don’t believe in me.

Which is your favorite soccer team and why?

D: My favorite team is Atlético Madrid because of their game style. Throughout the years, they have become a team that everyone respects. Atlético Madrid players have a mentality to play every game as it it were their last game, which makes it interesting to watch because they play their hearts out.

You, as an Atlético Madrid fan, how exactly did you feel when they lost two consecutive Champions League finals against Real Madrid?

D: [Sigh] I felt very, extremely sad, but not disappointed because in the first final the team played with their souls. The fact that [Real Madrid] scored in the last minute, made me feel even worse. The final this year was decided on penalties. For me, it was bad luck. We are a team that nobody thought was going to reach two UCL finals in three years. Now we are respected by everyone.

Do you prefer UCL fixtures or league fixtures.

D: I prefer UCL matches because the teams are the best in Europe and they all play against one another. Every game is like a final because the tournament is a knockout stage. The performances of the teams are amazing.

What are your goals and dreams as a soccer player?

D: My goals and dreams as a soccer player are to continue playing in college because it is what I love to do, but college will be my last years of playing competitively because I want to focus on my career which is Sports Management.

What would you like to do after you graduate?

D: Because I’m a sports management major, I want to become the sports director of a team. Later, I would love to open a soccer academy for poor children so they can practice and maybe play for colleges.

What was your best sports memory?

D: My best sport memory was when I went to Europe to play soccer in an academy because it was as if I were in a movie. Definitely my best experience as a soccer player.

Translated from Spanish by Mauricio Rich

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