I caught up with Sporting Kansas City's first Uruguayan player to find out everything you need to know about Uruguay, why bees scare him and how Will Smith made him cry.
Jamila St. Ann: Is there anything we need to know about Uruguay that we may not already know?
Alex Martinez: One of the biggest parts of our culture is that we drink mate. It’s like tea, without the bag. You put it in this special cup, pour hot water and sugar in and you sit with your family and drink it as a group. It kind of sets us apart I guess.
JS: What about food?
AM: I’m a bit biased, but I think we have the best food. We eat a lot of meat: sausage, pork, just lots of meats.
JS: Do you have a nickname?
AM: My friends and old teammates call me Lexi. Everyone on my team when I was younger had nicknames on the team that we all just called each other, too.
JS: If you could give yourself a new nickname, what would you give yourself?
AM: I’m fine with Alex or Lexi; those work.
JS: What’s the last movie that made you cry?
AM: It was a while ago, but the Pursuit of Happyness. That was a good one.
JS: What was your first impression of this team when you got here?
AM: I first came here during the summer, and enjoyed it a lot. The coaching staff and everyone around was welcoming. The great thing about everyone here is that we have big name players who don’t act like they're big name players. They talk to everyone, whether a rookie or a veteran, they treat everyone the same, and that’s what I love about it here.
JS: Who is the funniest guy on the team?
AM: It has to be Jimmy! Jimmy Medranda, my roommate. He's the funniest, goofiest guy I know.
JS: What’s your favorite thing to do with your free time?
AM: I have a couple things. I try to have quiet time everyday with the Lord. My religion is very important to me and I try to just have quiet moments everyday in my faith. And I play a lot of FIFA. My roommates and I had a tournament yesterday. Me, Igor Juliao, Victor Munoz, and Jimmy all played. Victor won.
JS: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
AM: In Uruguayan culture, there’s not much to do. You either play soccer or you go off and work. So as a little boy I wanted to play the game, make it my profession, and play it at the highest level I can. I also wanted, and still do want, to play for the National Team of Uruguay.
JS: What’s something that scares you?
AM: Oh! I’m scared of spiders, snakes. Bugs as a whole don’t really bother me, but bees do. Those are the big things I try to stay away from.
JS: If you were king for a day, what would your first three laws be?
AM: I’d probably say that everyone has to play soccer, everyone has to be active and healthy, and that everyone has to respect everyone else.
JS: You’re lost in the city without your phone or a map, what do you do?
AM: I would probably stop and ask for help. And I would definitely write it down too, because if they just tell me, I’ll forget.
JS: What’s your favorite thing about Kansas City?
AM: Definitely the atmosphere around soccer. The reason I’m here is for soccer. Being out at the games, the atmosphere is the best that I’ve been to here in the US.