Miguel Montaño may have strained some facial muscles if he could have been any happier on Wednesday.
The grin on the 18-year-old striker’s face when he met with the media after his first training session with the Sounders FC said it all.
“It’s a dream come true,” Montaño said through a translator. “I am so happy to be here so I can’t hide the happiness I have right now.”
Growing up in Colombia, with a single mother – his father died when he was very young – Montano always strived to follow his mother’s advice. For that reason, his appearance in Seattle was doubly satisfying.
“My mother has always been my guide through my whole life. My mother has always been there supporting me, telling me to keep my head up and keep pursuing my dreams,” he said. “My mother has been telling me that she is very happy that I am coming here to the U.S. and she tells me to keep my head up and take advantage of every opportunity I am given here because this is not an opportunity that comes along to anybody my age. So she is very supportive and very happy that I am here in Seattle.”
At just 18, he has already spent time away from home, spending more than a year in Argentina playing for the Quilmes AC youth system where he has developed a knack for dynamic offensive play and a comparison to Portugal and Real Madrid star Christiano Ronaldo. He assures, though, that the comparison starts and ends with his hairstyle, though he did admit to a similar playing style to the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year.
“Everybody knows that Ronaldo is a unique player. He is one and only. I am happy to be compared to him but I know that Ronaldo is his own player,” Montaño said, his smile widening and cheeks reddening.
Montaño comes to Seattle already toting something of a support system in fellow Colombians Fredy Montero and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado – Montaño was even a fan of the two when they played for Deportivo Cali. The hope is that relationship will help Montaño develop in a Sounders FC uniform. However, he is not expected to make an immediate impact like Montero and Hurtado, who were MLS All-Stars in 2009.
“He is more somebody for the future,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “We always want to be successful in the present and the present is the most important element of it, but we also want to make sure we have things for the future as well. So we have got to give him some time to settle, get his feet on the ground and see how he comes along. If he is ready, he will play. He will know and we will know.”
Montaño spoke on the phone with Montero before coming to Seattle. Montero told him about the city of Seattle, the Sounders FC and the rigors of MLS. And he told Montero of his admiration for the 2009 MLS Newcomer of the Year.
“It makes me feel happy and prideful. I remember when I was that age looking up to other players, so it makes me feel special that that is what he said when he greeted me,” Montero said. “I want him to show his talents and abilities. The MLS is much more physical so you have to think half a second before your opponents.”
With everything in the new country coming at him at high-speed, Montaño handled Day One with enthusiasm.
“This is an incredible opportunity that I have been given and I want to take every opportunity when I am here, playing on this field with (Montero and Hurtado) as teammates,” Montaño said. “I want to take advantage of every moment I have here in this incredible stadium.”
The season opener is set for March 25 at Qwest Field against the Philadelphia Union.