Photo credit: Dean Rutz, The Seattle Times
Four goals in two games will get you noticed. Sounders FC forward David Estrada is realizing that, he admitted to reporters after Thursday’s practice.
— The interview requests are pouring in. (“As we speak, there are two cameras on my face.”)
— People recognize him on the street. (“It’s funny. I’ve been here for two years and nobody recognized me, and after my hat trick there’s been like four instances of people coming up to me and asking me if I’m the one who plays for the Sounders.”)
— On Facebook, fans have cropped his face onto an image of superstar Leo Messi. (“That’s ridiculous. … No chance.”)
Estrada says he’s enjoying it but also staying grounded and keeping his same approach, which isn’t hard to believe if you’ve spent any time around him. Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid believes that, too, and shared a story recently to prove it.
Asked how Estrada is handling the extra attention, Schmid said “he’s handled it fairly well.”
“We actually talked today a little bit,” the coach continued, “and I said, ‘Well, they’re asking now are you going to play for Mexico or the U.S.?’ I said, ‘Right now you’ve got to just keep playing for the Sounders, let’s not worry about that other stuff.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I know.’ Just keeping his feet grounded.
“It’s like when I subbed him in the first game. I had never really talked to him about it. I asked him, I said, ‘Do you know why I subbed you?’ And he goes, ‘Well, I thought because I had the yellow card or something you wanted to take me out.’ I said, ‘No, I wanted you to hear the crowd, because you scored a hat trick. It’s near the end of the game and I wanted you to hear the crowd.’ He goes, ‘Oh.’
“His thought process isn’t at that point, and I think as long as he stays humble and continues to put in the effort and the work rate, he’ll get rewarded. There are going to be some frustrating times that are going to come along, but he’s just got to keep at it.”