Andy Najar’s moment finally arrived. Last Saturday, the young Honduran wasable to put on the “Bicolor” uniform and step out on the pitch to represent hiscountry. The 18-year-old midfielder came in as a substitute in the 2-0 loss against Colombia, anddays later he had the opportunity to be in the starting lineup against 2011 CopaAmerica finalists Paraguay (3-0 loss) at the Estadio Olímpico in San PedroSula, before the eyes of the entire Honduran fan-base. Already settled in LosAngeles ahead of the D.C. United-Chivas USA match, the 2010 MLS Rookie of the Year shares hisexcitement with us and tells us how much this experience meant to him.
You finally fulfilledyour dream of playing for the Honduran National Team, how do you feel rightnow?
I am extremely happy; I don’t have words to describe my timewith the National Team. I am grateful that my dream has come true, and Iexperienced it with great excitement.
How was your timewith the team?It was a great experience getting to know my new teammates.I am very grateful for the way they treated me, and I hope I get the opportunity to be with them again soon.
How did it feel to goback to your native land and represent the National Team?
It was very exciting to go back to my country. Playing thereand representing Honduras was very motivating and it gave me the drive to workhard during both games, and I am grateful that things turned out okay.
How did the peoplewelcome you on the street, the hotel, etc.?
It was great. I am very happy with the support the fansshowed me. Those moments [with the fans] were very special for me. Many peopletold me they were proud of me and congratulated me for what I have been doingin the United States.
You played twodifficult matches against prestigious teams and world-class players. How do youevaluate the team’s performance against Colombia and Paraguay?
The National Team has new players and coach [Luis] Suarez istrying to put together a new squad with young players and other ones who havealready been with the National Team. We worked hard this past week to prepareourselves and form a good team.
You had theopportunity to start against Paraguay at the Estadio Olimpico in front of theentire Honduran fan-base. What was going through your mind at that moment?
It was very exciting for me to see the great Honduranfan-base at the stadium supporting the National Team, and I wasn’t nervous atall. It was a great opportunity to showcase myself, and I think I did a goodjob in the first half. The fans really motivated me and their cheers pushed meto work hard.
How did you adapt tothe training sessions and to Luis Suarez’ style of play?
Little by little, we need to adapt to the coach’s style ofplay. It will take me more than one week to find my place in the team, but if Iam present in the next call-ups then I will be able to connect with the squadand find the rhythm that the coach wants to see.
How did you feel onthe pitch?
I felt very comfortable since I played in the same positionI play here for D.C. United.
What do you think ofHonduras’ new process ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers?
I think it’s coming along well. I simply need to work hardso I can get the next call-up and mix well with my new teammates, and hopefullywe can make it to the World Cup in Brazil.
Being back with D.C.United, with all the confidence of having played at an international level, howare you feeling for the last stretch of the MLS season?
I am very excited, but we have to keep working hard rightnow, because we are about to enter the Playoffs. We need to win these next fewmatches because they will be very important for our objective.
Saturday’s matchagainst Chivas USA (31 pts.) will be crucial for the 2011 MLS Playoffs race. Whatare the key points to obtaining a victory at The Home Depot Center?
We simply need to do what we have been doing lately, sincewe have won most of our away matches. We must get the three points thisSaturday because the Playoffs are very close.