D.C. United’s young star has entered the international scene.After his first training sessions with the Honduran National Team in Florida this week, AndyNajar has arrived in New Jersey and is ready to face Colombia at Red BullArena. Just hours away from his international debut, the 2010 MLS Rookie of theYear discussed his first experiences with Honduras and hisexpectations for Saturday’s contest (8:00 PM ET, no TV).
How was the team’s welcoming?
They were great; everybody is really nice here. I amgrateful to them for giving me such a warm welcome, and I am happy because I am gettingto know the whole group.
Have your teammates pulled a prank on you for being a rookie?
Not yet, but they have already told me that they are goingto cut my hair. So I am prepared and ready to run when the time comes.
Is there someone in particular that you are getting alongwith?I am getting along with everyone, really. I am slowlygetting more comfortable with my teammates and also with the coaching staff.
How were your first training sessions?
They were great. I was very happy on the training fieldbecause I have finally fulfilled my dream of practicing with the National Team.
What has Suárez[Head Coach] askedof you?
Nothing in particular. We did a few collective and tacticaldrills. We also did one-on-one exercises. I felt very comfortable during thetraining sessions.
Where do you see yourself on the field?
I will play in the same place I have been playing lately. Ihave already told [the coaches] where I feel more comfortable. If they decideto place me on the right wing I think I will respond well.
How do you compare the international level with that of MLS?
I think [the international level] is based more ontechnique. This is great because it will help me develop my soccer skills. Thisexperience will also help me keep learning a little bit more about soccer everyday.
Have you been impressed by someone in particular duringpractice?
Everybody has a great level of play. We are all on the samepage here, and everybody works as hard as the rest.
How are you preparing mentally for Saturday, and what areyour thoughts on potentially playing your first international match against a quality teamsuch as Colombia?
I simply need to be focused. As everyone knows, Colombia dida great job in the Copa America, and they showed a very different level fromwhat they had shown in the past. They are a stronger team now, so we will haveto give it our best on Saturday. I hope I get the chance of playing someminutes.
How is your family living this moment? What have they saidto you?
They are very happy. There aren’t words to describe thismoment, since my dream has come true. Every time I talk to them they let meknow how happy they are for me.
Will they be watching you at the Red Bull Arena?
Yes, they will be present on Saturday to watch me play, incase I get the opportunity to step in.
What have your D.C. United teammates said to you about yourfirst call-up?
Everybody congratulated me for the call-up. They have allshown their support, and they are happy that I will finally play at aninternational level.
How do you picture Saturday’s game? What will go throughyour head when you go out on the field wearing the Honduran uniform?
I think I will be filled with joy. I don’t think I will havewords to describe that great moment. As everybody knows, this will be my firstgame, my debut - I will be extremely happy. I will also be a littlenervous, but I know it will pass quickly. I will be very cheered up.