“It was a humbling feeling hearing my name being called by 40,000 plus people in the stadium. I honestly got the chills hearing the crowd chanting and people yelling my name,” says midfielder for the Seattle Sounders FC, Cristian Roldan.
Before he was known in the Twitter world as “Cristian Roldan,” the community of Pico Rivera knew him as “getactivee.” From meager beginnings of having roughly 600 followers on Twitter, Cristian Roldan has attained a bigger following, gaining 4.3k followers and a famous blue check mark next to his name. He has also begun to establish himself as a professional soccer player.
Roldan’s first professional soccer game, which took place on March 8, versus the New England Revolution, was “a moment that [he] always dreamt of.” He says being on that field was “a feeling I’ll never get taken away from me. I will always remember every single little detail of that day.” Since then, Roldan has also made his first career start during the FC Dallas game on March 28. Roldan adds, “I remember signing autographs for kids for about ten minutes after the game. It’s a moment in my career that I will always remember.”
“Everything leading up to this moment has been a learning experience,” says Roldan. “I think the older guys and the coaching staff should receive all the credit. Without them I wouldn’t be adjusting to the game as easily as I am right now. Hanging out with 30 year olds on a daily basis, who have experienced life, is very amusing. One of the guys once told me, ‘you’re young enough to be my daughter’s boyfriend. I got to watch out for you.’”
Most recently, Roldan was called into the U-20 U.S. Men’s National Team, which was held in Linz, Austria from April 18 to the 26th. There, he played in two games, one versus Qatar, and the other versus Croatia. Roldan says, “It was definitely a weird experience. I was playing against guys who didn’t speak English. I couldn’t understand what they were saying, but they were able to understand me!”
“I get to travel a lot and that just comes with being a professional player. However, at times, I do miss my home in Seattle. I’ve been gone for four days out of the week, every week, for the past month and a half. But I love being able to see new things like city landmarks,” says Roldan.
The transition to the professional game has come with its challenges. After waking up early, performing his rookie duties, and practicing for most of the day, Roldan says, “ I go home and automatically lay in bed because of how tired I am.” He adds, “Your body wears down on you because of all the physical demands of the game.” The hardest part of the transition for him has been “the mental side. You have to be mentally and physically tuned into the game for 90 minutes.”
Roldan’s nine professional games, four of them in which he was a starting player, all adding up to about 250 minutes on the field. “Growing up is part of the process. It’s technically my first job. I have to pay for gas, rent, and taxes; but it’s all part of being a professional.”
After a long day, Roldan goes home to hang out with his college friends and play video games. Roldan says he has played as himself on FIFA, but he has only played against friends that can take a joke. “In theory I’m not one of the better players on FIFA because this is my first year and my ratings aren’t the highest. I put myself in because the guy I’m playing against sucks, so he has to be able to take that joke.”
Roldan gets recognized every once in a while. He says, “I was driving with my brothers and this guy at the bus stopped recognized me and started taking a selfie from across the street. I, of course, gave him a thumbs up for the picture!”
Nevertheless, Roldan says, “I think all the people behind me only want me to succeed and I hope I can give them something to support.” With what he has achieved, at just the ripe age of 20, Roldan still has many more years of success to come.