On Monday, Seattle Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso tweeted the happy news: “Today my father received the U.S. visa, after eight years I’ll be able to see him again.”
Now it’s just a matter of days before father and son are united for the first time since Alonso defected from Cuba to the United States in 2006.
“He’s coming in two weeks,” Alonso said Thursday after training. “I’m very excited to see my dad again. I’m waiting for that moment. … Eight years. It’s always tough when you have family down there that you don’t see. Now I’ve got the opportunity to see him. He’s very excited. So I waited for that moment.”
It is a moment that Alonso feared might never come. But that was a risk he took when he left the Cuban national team in June 2006 during the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
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“He was in Venezuela working there, so I tell him I defect,” Alonso said. “He starts crying. But now he’s happy to see me here in the U.S. He can see me play again. … He’ll be happy to come here, to see me play in person.”
The two are close.
“Very good, like any dad and son can be,” Alonso said. “For me, he’s my hero. I grow up watching him play soccer. So I’ll be happy to see again. … He always played soccer, so I always look at him like a hero for me. .. He always gives me advice (and) supports me.”
After defecting, Alonso played with the Charleston Battery of the USL. He joined the Sounders in their 2009 expansion season. He has been voted the club’s most valuable player four times.
In 2012, Alonso gained full U.S. citizenship.
He has filed paperwork that he hopes will allow him to visit his native country this offseason.
The Sounders will train Friday morning at Starfire Sports Complex and then bus up to Vancouver, where they will meet the Whitecaps at 4 p.m. Saturday at BC Place. … Vancouver took a 1-0 win over CD Olimpia on Wednesday in CONCACAF Champions League play. Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said he doesn’t believe the Whitecaps’ midweek game should affect them Saturday. “I think of the guys who played (Wednesday), I don’t know if any of that group is going to start or play,” he said. “I don’t think it makes a difference.” … Center back Chad Marshall was held out of Thursday training, which Schmid said was due to cortisone shots for leg stiffness. Schmid also said captain Brad Evans had been cleared after undergoing the MLS concussion protocol, and he will be available Saturday barring a setback. Designated players Clint Dempsey and Nelson Valdez have been limited in training this week, but should be ready for the weekend. Schmid said midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz, who played 45 minutes in his Sounders’ debut last weekend at San Jose, should be ready to go 60-75 minutes this weekend.
SATURDAY: Seattle at Vancouver, 4 p.m., JOEtv, 97.3-FM