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Nicolas Lodeiro thrilled to face boyhood club Nacional in friendly

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The Uruguayan is glad to welcome the club that helped shape his career as a player

MLS: Western Conference Semifinal-Portland Timbers at Seattle Sounders FC Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

TUKWILA, Wash. – Before triumphs with Boca Juniors, Ajax and the Seattle Sounders, Nicolas Lodeiro made his mark at Uruguayan giant Nacional. Now, as the Sounders prepare to face Nacional in a friendly at CenturyLink Field Wednesday, Lodeiro expressed delight to have a chance to see the pitch against his first club.

“We live for football in Uruguay,” Lodeiro said Tuesday. “It’s our culture. We have football in our blood. All kids dream of being a soccer player.”

Lodeiro’s talents have allowed him to help his teams lift trophies in the Netherlands, Argentina, the United States and even at the international level with Uruguay, but it all started when the then-14-year-old from Paysandu was noticed by a local scout and moved to the Montevideo club’s training academy.

In 2007, Lodeiro made his senior team debut and quickly impressed with his speed and agility. When he poured in three goals and three assists in the Copa Libertadores two years later, he started to turn heads. Lodeiro finally secured his move abroad to Ajax in January 2010, after scoring seven goals with four assists in just eight appearances in the Primera Division Apertura.

While the Uruguayan enjoyed tremendous success at Nacional, he said we was most grateful to the club for helping him develop into the player he is today.

“I’m very happy because they’re my first team,” Lodeiro said. “They’re the team that made me grow as a person and the team that made me who I am as a player.”