Roger Espinoza: "This is the only team I want to play for"

One day after Sporting Kansas City announced the re-signing of veteran midfielder Roger Espinoza, the fan favorite himself spoke to media at Compass Minerals National Performance Center. Espinoza discussed his decision to return to the only MLS club he has ever played for and looked ahead to the 2021 MLS campaign. His full remarks are below.


On re-signing with Sporting…

It means a lot to me. This is the only club I want to play for. I don’t know anyone else in the league and I don’t want to know anyone else. We’ve got a great training facility. As you guys know, it’s probably the best one in the league. For me it was a no-brainer to come back. I’m happy to be here and hopefully I can finish my career in Kansas City.

On staying in shape and his playing time expectations…

I’m preparing myself in a different way. I’m taking care of my body and I’ve been training a lot this offseason. As for the role I’ll play on the team, I don’t know. I’ll compete for a starting spot. That’s been the same case every year. That was the case last year and that will be the case this year, too. At the end of the day, I don’t make those decisions. It’s the technical staff, but I’ll be ready for however they need me.

On the extra measures he takes to stay fit…

I can’t have as many beers. In general, I’ve changed the way I eat and train. Back when you were younger, you could train one or two weeks during the offseason and pick up where they left off. Being older, you’ve got to take care of yourself physically to be ready for preseason. I have been going to the gym and eating well and all of that. I’m here in Kansas City earlier than I usually am just because I want to be ready. From that perspective, I’m taking care of myself.

On the start date of the 2021 MLS season…

I’ve not heard anything about when we’re coming back. I’ve been preparing to be ready. I don’t know when we’re going to start (the 2021 season). They haven’t told us that, but for me I just prepare for whenever that happens.

On his interactions with other clubs during free agency…

There was some interest from other teams, but I didn’t know how things were in Kansas City. My whole thinking was that I was coming back to the team, but when you get older, stuff happens and players move. That’s normal and that’s the business of soccer. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. For that reason, being a free agent, teams call you. I’ve been around the league for a while and that happens, but I’m glad I’m back.

On his contract discussions with Manager Peter Vermes…

The conversation started with me. The year was coming to an end and it was a different year for everybody. I wanted to make sure that I had a place to go play. A month or two before the season was over, I had a good conversation with him about how I wanted to come back to the team and if he still wanted me. Peter said he still planned on me being here for 2021, so it pretty much ended right there. After that, I concentrated on finishing the season. I wanted to put in the club’s head that I wanted to be here and try to work it out.

On the impact of Hurricane Eta in his native Honduras…

Honduras has been a third world country, and the hurricanes don’t make it any easier. There is a lot of help needed and I’m very thankful for all the people who have given a lot of support to Honduras. I am happy for that, but there is still a lot of work needed. Hopefully we can plan some different ways to help Honduras through the community here in Kansas City.

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