With our viewing party for the Seattle Sounders v UANL Tigres CONCACAF Champions League match later this week Sounder at Heart spoke with David Estrada about Hope Place, our charity partner for the event, and his unique perspective on CCL games in Mexico.
SaH: How did you discover Hope Place?
Estrada: My first year it was presented to me by James Riley and Terry Boss. When you have free time and can spend time with the kids and see them smile a little bit even though they face some difficult circumstances. It's good to be a part of it. James Riley and Terry Boss taught us in the first couple years and I've been happy to be a part of it these past three years.
SaH: Is it one of those things that when you do it once you can't help but do it more?
Estrada: Yes. It's not like we're in there trying to do drills. It's all about having fun, just kicking the ball around. These kids are just happy to get a hug and just play around. That's what it is all about.
SaH: We'll be watching Tigres. You've had some success against the Mexican clubs. How exciting for you is it to face another one and test yourself against that caliber of team?
Estrada: I think everybody on the team is looking forward to this game. It's a team that's on a high right now. We're just happy to have the opportunity. We know we can match up with them. For me it is a dream come true 'cause I watched them [Liga Mx sides] as a little kid and some of those guys I grew up watching them play. Now to be playing against them I'm at awe every time I step on the field, especially in Mexico. It's a good team and we're happy to have the opportunity.
SaH: Seattle won in that city before. Do you take lessons from that?
Estrada: I think most of the guys that played in that game are still here. We remember that game. Obviously it's a difficult task, but I think this team is up for the challenge. We have good personnel on the team and like I said we're looking for that opportunity.
SaH: Do you have any words for the fans at the viewing party?
Estrada: I'm always so grateful for the fans that will support the organization. I hope they can come out to Hope Place and be a part of it. If they ever get a chance they are more than welcome to come out. It's every other Monday. We're on Beacon Hill and it's a great opportunity to play with kids and see them smile because that's what it's all about.