After somewhat of a whirlwind introduction to Major League Soccer last season, forward Maximiliano Urruti has adapted to the initial unfamiliarity with life in a new league and, briefly, two new homes as the Argentine strike first signed with Toronto FC before arriving in the Rose City last season. Adjusting to change is a part of the lives of nearly all professional athletes and Urruti has shown during the 2014 season, with a team-leading seven goals, that he has found his place in Portland.
A Special Place
“Newell’s Old Boys, where I played as a kid, and Rosario, Argentina, always have a special place in my heart. But even though I have changed [teams] and moved to Portland, I feel comfortable here and I am very happy.”
Coming from Argentina, one challenge for many foreign players is the language barrier. While Urruti has compatriots in forward Gatόn Fernández, midfielder Diego Valeri and defender Norberto Paparatto, he has focused on working on developing a firmer grasp of the English language. He studies with a teacher several days a week at Providence Park. “Yes, it has been challenging for me. It is important to be able to communicate with your teammates but everything takes time and I feel like I’m learning quickly,” Urruti said in Spanish. However, he continued in English, “I like Portland. The city and the people are great. I like this life in Portland.”
The son of former Argentine professional soccer player Juan José Urruti, Maximiliano has followed in his father’s footsteps as a striker. While watching his dad, Urruti also grew up with a ball at his feet, enamored with the game as a young boy. “From about the age of four, I have played with the ball and I liked watching soccer all the time. No matter what team was playing, I would be watching on TV.”
Practically born into the game, Urruti has some advice to offer aspiring young players. “I began playing at four years old and it has been a beautiful career so far. I would tell any children who want to be professional soccer players to follow their dreams and that they can meet any goals that they go for.”