Real Salt Lake’s Sebastian Saucedo visits schoolchildren
With Major League Soccer in the midst of its brief offseason, Real Salt Lake midfielder Sebastian Saucedo took time to visit Parley’s Park Elementary School in Park City.
It was a short trip for Saucedo, fresh off his first season with the MLS club — after all, he was raised in Park City. He said he jumped at the chance to hang out with the students at their holiday party.
"It seemed like it was a good idea for me, especially being raised here," he said. "I went here for Head Start and then went to McPolin Elementary."
Being in a position to inspire kids from his hometown is important for Saucedo. He said loves playing for RSL and representing his home state.
"It’s a dream come true, obviously, for an 18-year-old to accomplish such a thing," he said. "I would have never expected it to come this early. It feels amazing, especially being at home and having the club here in Utah. It’s a good feeling having your family and friends supporting you."
In Saucedo’s first season with RSL, he appeared in nine games, starting one. In 168 minutes, he took nine shots, two of which were on target. The highlight of his young professional career came against Orlando City this year in Salt Lake City.
"[It was] probably hitting the post," he said. "[The shot] didn’t go in, but it hit the post. I kind of had a feeling I was going to score [my first goal] that game. It didn’t come this year, but I hope it comes next year."
Saucedo said he’s learned a lot since being called up from RSL’s youth academy and he hopes that will lead to more success next year.
"The big thing is just to be more confident, to come in and show what I can give to the team," he said. "Obviously, confidence is key, as is patience. I need to be confident, work hard and be patient. Things will come my way sooner or later."
RSL finished a disappointing 11-15-8 in 2015, failing to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in eight years. Despite the tough season, Saucedo said he’s confident the team can do better in 2016.
"Right now, we’re working hard to have a better year," he said. "We all can learn from [last year]. We’re a team and we work together. We’re all united to have a better 2016. I’m looking forward to it."
Right now, Saucedo is spending time in Park City with his family. He said his next big event will be a tournament with the U20 Mexican national team in January.
"I just recently got called up to the U20 Mexican national team, so I went to a camp down there," he said. "I used to play for the U20 national team for the U.S., but I just made the switch recently."
Real Salt Lake’s next game is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 24, against Tigres UANL in CONCACAF Champions League play.
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This season, the Miners are led by a quartet of seniors who combine to shine on and off the court. According to head coach Matt Carlson, the seniors are the heartbeat of the team and have led the charge for Park City’s jump to Class 5A.