#236 Yonny Martínez2018-10-02T23:11:11-04:00

Project Description


#236 Yonny Martínez

“No marbles or perinolas for me, only soccer”

Chepina Hernandez / Astrid Hernández

Stivalis Monsalve

Petare, Caracas

Believe it or not, I love soccer more than I love my mom, and she knows it. I take my shoes everywhere I go, so I can play. I knew what I liked since I was very little; when I was six or seven, I spent my time playing in the street. If I didn’t have shoes, I played barefoot. If I had slippers, I took them off. I didn’t care if my feet got dirty. No marbles or perinolas for me, only soccer.

From home, I watched the kids play at the other side of the street and one day I wondered “what does it feel to play soccer?!” So one weekend, I asked my mom, “can I go out?” She said yes.

I ran out the house and approached the other side of the road, where the other kids were practicing. They asked me if I knew how to play, and I said so-so. I couldn’t tell them I didn’t know! But when I took that ball, it caught me. It’s as if it didn’t want to leave me. “Aha!” I thought, “Let’s see how I run. Aha! Let’s see how I kick.” And when I hit it really hard, boom! I scored!

My dad was always telling me about baseball, but I didn’t listen. I tried something new and I liked it. At seven, I was already in a team and when he found out that I was joining it, he didn’t get mad. He realized my love for soccer. He was one of the first to support me in my family, he went to every match with me and he’s always trying to help me with everything, like mom. If they can’t help me with something today, they’ll certainly try tomorrow. I have what I really want from them: love and communication, not money and stuff.

My nephew had his first birthday on May 5. I see him and I know he’s more of a bat-and-glove guy, he likes baseball better, but that’s ok. I can’t force him to be what I want him to be. The idea is for him to be happy and do what he loves, just like me.

Right now, I’m looking for a new team because I’m already fifteen and I can’t stay with my current one because of my age. The trainer lets me practice, no problem, but it’s not the same because I can’t play at championships. Soon, I’ll take a test in Sucre to see if I can join the U-16 team. I’m getting ready. Let’s say I’m dreaming they’ll accept me and I’ll succeed.

Nothing scares me. I’ve always felt my teams like a family. Every time I join a new one, my teammates give me a nice welcome and we have fun. Since we’re playing soccer, we’re always going to be friends and rivals at once, just respectfully. Tolerance, love, sincerity, friendship and respect are values that make a good player.

If they don’t take me in, I don’t blame anybody for my defeats, I accept them. As our coach Mario says, “If we lose, we all lose” and “If we win, we all win,” because this is teamwork.

A while ago, in a match in Mesuca, we were all playing together. I touched the ball from here to there and in the second half we were all relaxed. Nobody was tired or breathing heavily. Three or four drank water, but nothing else. We kept playing. That’s teamwork and good friendship.

My thirst for soccer is intense and it’ll keep growing. It’s contagious. Before the soccer court was built, I saw the guys thinking of guns, booze and going out late, but not anymore. Most of them are focused on practicing soccer. They say they forget the problems they have and those they see in the street when they play. Even older guys wait for us to finish our match before they start playing, baseball, soccer, basketball, or any other sport. Thank God we still have that court!

When I step in, I become someone else. I get inspired, I feel a passion within me that only makes me think of soccer and seeing that ball in the goal-frame.