Removing Nick Rimando from his number one perch is one mean task indeed but waiting patiently in the wings to produce when called upon is 19 year old Mexican/American Lalo Fernandez. Fernandez signed for RSL in February to a home grown contract as Jason Kreis looks to the future. The keeper kindly took time out of his dedicated schedule to speak about all things Real Salt Lake and his career ambitions. Exclusive to www.soccernightexclusive.wordpress.com

First and Foremost, For all of the British fans who are unfamiliar with you. What type of keeper are you ? What are your strengths ?

Well I’m a keeper that can play really good with my feet, I read the game well and I am always ready and prepared to come for a cross or through ball.

What age and how did you get into soccer ?

I was aged four when I joined my first team, but I have been told I started as soon as I could walk. I got into soccer through my dad who played professional in his native Mexico for clubs like C.D Guadalajara (Chivas), Cruz Azul and many other teams in the Mexican first division.

When you first started playing soccer was you always committed to becoming a keeper ?

No I played all over the field until I reached 11, then I changed to just playing as a goalkeeper.

Have you always wanted to become a professional soccer player ?

Yes I have always wanted to play professional soccer.

During your growing up stages as a soccer player, who would you say was your biggest inspiration ?

My inspiration has always been my father as well as Real Madrid and Spain Goalkeeper Iker Casillas. I think Casillas is a perfect example of how a goalkeeper should be.

How did your move to Real Salt Lake come about ?

I was playing for C.D Guadalajara (Chivas) youth in Mexico and my contract reached it’s expiry date. Then they told me about the youth program at RSL and I went to try out. From there the first team took a huge interest in me and wanted to sign me.

Are you currently training with the first team ?

Yes I am currently training alongside Nick Rimando and Kyle Reynish.

How would you describe the influences that both Nick Rimando and Kyle Reynish have had on your career ?

Both keepers are great to train with. I learn a vast amount from each of them, they have their own different styles and they talk to me quite a lot to give me guidance and advice on how I can improve, as well as help with the smaller details too.

How do you think the season has gone so far in 2012 for Real Salt Lake ?

We have had a good season thus far but our expectations are much higher and we want to achieve more.

What can RSL achieve this season ?

I think we are in a good situation to be a part of the play-off picture in the MLS and in the Concacaf Champions League we have a crucial game tonight (referring back to the 1-0 victory over Tauro)

How would you describe Jason Kreis as a coach and as a person ?

The coach is a friend of the players, he is always making sure we are ok. And as a coach his practices are great and during matches he just points out what he expects of us.

You have played for both Mexico and USA at various youth levels. Which nation are you going to commit your international career to ?

It is difficult to decide right now. I was born in Mexico and all of my family are from there. But the USA open their doors to everyone to make a living, and I have lived here for almost half of my life and my career is beginning here. So it is a tough decision to make.

Whether you commit to Mexico or USA, how does it feel to represent your nation at soccer ?

It is always an honour to wear your national team colours.

Where would you like to see your career in five years’ time ?

I would like to be playing here in Utah for Real Salt Lake. The MLS will become even bigger in a couple of years and I want to be a part of that. Also I have a dream to play for a big club in Europe.

What Advice would you give to youngsters who are looking to follow in your footsteps ?

Just to be patient over everything, work hard and things will fall into place if you work for it.

What Keeper Gloves Do You Currently Wear ?

I wear Adidas at the moment but I have no contract to any.

Best Save You’ve Made ?

During the Texas State Championship I saved a 1 v 1 in the last minute of the game and because of that save we managed to go onto to win the championship. I was 12 years old I think !.

Best Game You’ve Played In ?

My debut for Penarol in Uruguay against C.A Rentistas in the reserve league.

Best Player You’ve Played With ?

Marcelo Zalayeta.

Best Player You’ve Played Against ?

David Beckham during pre-season.

Favourite MLS Stadium ?

Rio Tinto Stadium.

Team Supported Growing Up ?

Atlas (Mexico) and Real Madrid.

Favourite Food ?

Tacos.

Favourite Drink ?

Gatorade.

Favourite Holiday Destination ?

Guadalajara and Montevideo.

First Car (If You Drive) ?

Volkswagen Jetta.

Favourite Film ?

3 Metros Sobre El Cielo

Favourite Band ?

Mana (The most famous band in Mexico and Latin America).

Hobbies and Interests Outside Of Soccer ?

I like to watch movies, explore the internet and socialise with my friends.

What would you do if you won $1million ?

I would probably use the money to invest in my father’s business.

I would like to thank Lalo for his time and efforts during the interview process.

By Anthony Bedworth

@maplesoccer123

@usbritain05

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