"[Translated from Spanish to English] It fills me with Pride every time I attend events like this with all of you, this is the most beautiful trophy (gift) I have received. Like always, I want to make you prideful of me. I was born in Mexico and my parents worked in the fields, and it’s because of them that I am here with you. Thank you."
~ David Estrada (May 6, 2012 - Kent, WA)
KENT, Wash. - For each of the last two years, David Estrada has gone to Kent around Cinco de Mayo for an event put on to celebrate the heritage of Mexicans in the Seattle area.
A proud Moreliano, Estrada has been excited to participate in an event that honors the country in which he was born. This year, the crowd of over 12,000 were even more honored to have Estrada there to share in the excitement.
Many on hand even told him that the only reason they participated this year was because they knew he would be there.
Such is the growth of the persona of Estrada in the last year.
After scoring a hat trick in the regular season opener and adding another goal in Seattle’s second game, Estrada thrust himself from the bench to the spotlight. And while that rise was sudden and dramatic in some soccer circles, Morelia never stopped following their native son – whether it was in high school in Salinas, California, at UCLA or with the Sounders FC.
“No matter where I’ve been, there’s always been people from Mexico following me. They’ve always been behind me,” said Estrada, 23. “When the younger kids look at me, I hope I set a good example. When I look at them, I see a lot of myself when I was that age. Hopefully they are inspired to try to pursue their dreams.”
Those dreams led Estrada to the pitch at CenturyLink Field, where he scored against Mexican legend Oswaldo Sanchez as the Sounders rolled to a 2-1 win over Santos Laguna in the first leg of the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League in March.
That gave rise to his popularity among Sounders fans, particularly in the Hispanic community.
The emotion toward Estrada culminated in a gift honoring him for being a stand-up representative of the city of Morelia, Mexico – his birthplace.
The delegation of 14 from his hometown was led by Morelia's Director of Tourism, Dr. Rogelio Díaz Ortíz who presented Estrada with the statue of Morelos – one of Mexico's most important independence national heroes for which the town of Morelia is named – as a way to recognize his Morelia roots.
“I’ll always have a place in my heart for the village that I’m from,” he said. “It means a lot to me. Hopefully they can hear my name from afar and I just want to make them proud.”
Estrada already has four goals this MLS season and continues to be a key contributor to the Sounders FC’s 6-1-1 start. They will meet FC Dallas in their first Western Conference road match Wednesday at 5:30 Pacific at FC Dallas Stadium with a chance to share the top record in Major League Soccer.