A trip down memory lane: Sergio Rivas reflects on growing up in ABQ, playing for United

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Sergio Rivas is proud of his roots.

The New Mexico United midfielder grew up in a neighborhood near San Mateo and Comanche.

As a child, Rivas spent a lot of time kicking around a soccer ball, mostly against the side of a fence.

"This is where I trained all the time, right here," Rivas said, pointing out a fence in the neighborhood. "This was my goal, you know, these little metal poles were my goals, and I used to bring my little brother out. He used to get really mad at me because I’d stay out here for like three or four hours. I’d be like, "OK, if I hit the crossbar, the crossbar is the yellow thing, if I hit it give me a thumbs up."

Rivas has gone from a child with dreams to a professional soccer player.

"It’s kind of surreal where it all started. I think I got a lot better when I started playing out here. I didn’t do it to get better, I did because I love to do it," Rivas said.

Rivas said he’s proud to play for a team in the same city where he grew up.

"I spend time more with my family. I’ve been gone for seven years, you know? There’s nothing like having a hard training and just going to your family and just relaxing, laughing, having a good time sitting outside in the patio," Rivas said. "I’m honored to be able to represent this state and this city and, you know, a lot of people are like, ‘oh Albuquerque, New Mexico, where is that in Mexico? You’d be surprised, man. Like, Albuquerque is a great city and more than that, it’s beautiful."