Many European soccer players often snub the States in hopes of going pro back home, but are they making a mistake?
This was a decision which presented itself to Carlos Moros Gracia – one player who took the uncertain route through North America and did not regret it.
Gracia is a Temple alum from Sagunto, Spain. He came to Philadelphia two years ago to obtain a degree and play at a competitive level. The center-back adapted almost immediately to the American game and looked like a man amongst the boys. He is also far from the only one who has decided to take the leap across the pond.
His interesting journey throughout the world offers a wonderful example to others with professional aspirations. He shows what players can achieve and learn from experiencing collegiate soccer in the United States. The 23-year-old has lived quite a life already and is set to accomplish a whole lot more.
We had the chance to ask him some questions and find out more about him as a person, as a player and his career.
Name one person you could meet right now, alive or dead?
Russell Westbrook or Nelson Mandela
What is your favourite soccer team?
Valencia C.F. and Atletico Saguntino
Law Abiding Citizen
Favourite TV show?
What is something people might not know about you?
Although I am very extroverted and I’m always laughing, I am also a little bit shy, especially when I am speaking in a different language.
Who was your athlete CRUSH growing up? Why?
Carles Puyol, I think he was the role model about how to be the best defender for all the young people.
Talk us through your career path. Where have you played?
Valencia C.F. (Spain), Atletico Saguntino (Spain), Temple University (U.S.) and now GIF Sundsvall (Sweden).
What was life at Valencia like?
I think it is one of the best places to live. Weather, food, social lifestyle…all these things are very important to me, that’s why I used to miss my city when I’m far away.
Who are some of the players you played with during your time there?
Juan Bernat (Bayern Munich), Paco Alcacer (FC Barcelona), Juan Mata (Manchester United) are the most famous.
Who did you look up to and learn the most from?
Juan Mata. The ambition he had to become a great professional player was incredible.
How would you describe your time at Temple University overall?
It was an amazing adventure since I could compete at a good soccer level, but I also finished my studies which was very important for me. I met great people and made very food friends.
What was the most difficult part of your time playing in the U.S.?
The spring season where we couldn’t compete officially.
What was the best part of coming to the U.S.?
The possible combination to perform in both academics and athletics.
Did you learn a lot or develop as a player during your time in the U.S.?
Yes, I think I improved in athleticism because the type of training was different to Spain.
Do you think attending university in the U.S. helped you advance to the professional stage in your career?
Yeah, it was a good showcase for professional teams.
How is life in Sweden with your new team?
It’s just different. Sweden is a different country to Spain or the U.S. The weather is pretty cold so it’s important to get used to quickly and this new culture. Here people hang out more in close places drinking coffee.
In the football part, I’m happy. The teammates and the coaches were very nice since the beginning with me.
Would you recommend going to the U.S. to play in university to other aspiring professional soccer players?
For sure. As I said before I think it is the perfect combination to perform at a good level in soccer and academics.
What advice would you give these players?
Enjoy soccer at the same time you work hard to achieve your own goals. Dreams come true when you are consistent.
Finals?! No problem for an NSCAA Scholar All-American!
Congratulations, Carlos 👏
— Temple Men's Soccer (@Temple_MSoc) December 15, 2016
Bringing It All Together
Gracia experienced two extremely successful seasons with the Temple Owls. He captained the side to two seasons with their win count tallying double digits both times. He also accrued an American Athletic First Team All-Conference pick amongst several other individual awards. Gracia has now managed to pave a way into the first division in Sweden. He is far from the only player who has managed to accomplish something like this.
Could the U.S. present players with a big opportunity to take their career to the next level?
Carlos seems to think so, and so do we!
Follow Carlos Moros Gracia on Instagram @carmogra
Written by Athlete CRUSH Staff
Posted 21 April 2017