Pico Rivera cheers on home-grown talent on the World Cup stage
The U.S. men's soccer team back in the world cup after missing out four years ago played Wales in their opening draw today. Cristian Roldan made a name for himself in El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera.
"Thanks for taking all of us," said his high school coach, Dominic Picon. "He's taken us on this ride with him over the last few years."
Picon is not surprised by Roldan's latest big achievement.
"He's always made teams better and taken them to heights they've never been at," said Picon. "If I get on the field, I'll be ready for that opportunity," said Roldan.
Soccer excellence runs in Roldan family. Cesar, the eldest brother, is the head athletic trainer for the LA Galaxy, while Cristian and his younger brother, Alex, both play for the Seattle Sounders, each honoring their roots in their own way. "We gravitated towards soccer because in a way we were forced to," joked Roldan. "Coming from Hispanic parents, that was, you know, the most popular sport, obviously, in their countries. But also it was a way for us to connect with friends."
His community is also cheering him on.
"Most of those phenom soccer players go to top academies and schools," said Pico Rivera resident, Kenny Debaca.
"He chose to stick with his hometown, Pico; made his family proud, made his brothers proud, he made the city proud by winning the title with us."