When Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso defected from Cuba in June 2006, he feared me might never return home or see his family and friends again.
Now with USA-Cuba relations changing, Alonso says he is about to file the paperwork that could allow him to visit Cuba again this December.
Here’s some of what Alonso had to say today:
On Cuba’s Gold Cup run: It tough. When they come here it’s tough to keep the team together. But I hope now with the relationship with the U.S. the team is getting better – the national team improves its soccer and gets up in the world.
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On if changing USA-Cuba relations could affect his status with the national team: So far I have no idea. I have to keep waiting. So far it’s still the same: no changing for me.
On if he can return home to visit family in Cuba: Yeah. They change the law a few years ago. Now I have to send my passport to the Cuba embassy to see if they give me permission to come back. I’m still waiting for them. I have to send this week, to see how it is.
On when he should hear: A couple of weeks. … This year is my goal – in December to go.
On what that would mean: It’s going to be tough after eight years of playing here, living here without seeing my family. It’s going to be tough, but it’s going to be exciting for me to see my friends, my family down there. I’m very excited to see what’s going on.
If doubted he’s ever return: This is a gift for me. When I come here, it was never to come back. Now it’s eight years for me, so I’m very happy that changed. I’m waiting for that moment.
On Cuba players defecting: It’s tough. When you come here, you have family in Cuba, you stay here. It’s going to be tough for me. But people come here, follow they dream, keep working to improve in soccer, in life, to be better.