the story of the Colombian-Russian goalkeeper of English Arsenal

December 16, 2020 – 10:04 pm
2020-12-16 By:

Juan Carlos Pamo Sánchez- Reporter for El País

It is becoming more and more common to find stories of young Colombian footballers or soccer players with coffee roots who begin to stand out in international football and who dream of wearing the colors of the national Tricolor.

That is the case of goalkeeper Alexei Rojas Fedorushchenko, a 15-year-old goalkeeper who plays for England’s Arsenal and currently works with the Colombia Under-17 National Team, led by coach Héctor Cárdenas.

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The youthful goalkeeper is the son of a Colombian father (Fernando) and a Russian mother (Yulia). His triple nationality has put him in the focus of the national teams of those three countries, but Alexei’s desire is to put himself in the bus of the coffee box.

“From a very young age I have liked football. I remember that I used to go out with my brother Romeo to play in a nearby park in North London, where we lived, and from there the passion for this sport began ”, said Alexei.

It started in a small team from a town in the English capital. At that age (4 years old) he did not think of being a goalkeeper, he even mentioned that the coaches put him to play in various positions on the field so that the boys could show their conditions.

“When they put me to tackle it was something that I really liked. Being in the goal was something that made me happy, “added Rojas Fedorushchenko.

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At 11 he was chosen for the London district team, a squad that brought together the best young people in the city and where they faced teams from other parts of England.

“In one of those games I was seen by a Chelsea scout, they invited me to a development center, I was with them for three years, it was a nice stage, but I didn’t stay because I never made my way to the club’s academy” Alexei pointed out.

At 13 years old and already with experience accumulated by passing through various teams, the goalkeeper had the opportunity to go to try out with the Arsenal academy. It was an evaluation of eight weeks, but it took only four to be ‘signed’ by the ‘Gunners’. “I have been with Arsenal for two years. I’m in the U-15 category of the team ”.

Thanks to his conditions and his offspring he has been in the orbit of the England and Russia National Team.

“In the summer of 2019 I was invited to a concentration of the English national team for players my age. I was there on two other occasions, but I have never had official competition with them, ”explained Alexei, who confessed to having also had contacts with the Russian federation thanks to the roots he has for his mother.

And it is that this triple presence of cultures is something very marked within your home. “With my father I always try to speak in Spanish, with my mother I do it in Russian and at school it is English.”

The great reference in his position is the Czech Petr Cech. “When I was at Chelsea I was able to chat with him, he gave me advice to improve in many technical aspects. Then when I came to Arsenal, he was playing his last season as a professional; the club contacted us and gave me a signed shirt ”, said the goalkeeper.

Modern and leading

Alexei Rojas considers himself a modern goalkeeper, with good footwork and who can become a man on the field to help his team.

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“Communication is one of my strengths; on the court I am always giving instructions to my teammates. Also, the game with the feet, which is important in today’s football. You cannot be alone in the goal, you have to help the team when you have the ball, “he said.

He wants to capture these qualities in the work he is carrying out this week with the Colombian U-17 squad that is preparing to participate in the South American Championship of the category, which will take place between March 31 and April 25 of next year in Ecuador.

“I hope to do things well in this opportunity given to me by the Colombian National Team. I feel a better connection with the country and with Colombian culture than with English or Russian culture and I prefer Colombian football because it is played with more berraquera, more spark and more heart, ”he confessed.

He admires David Ospina, whom he had the opportunity to meet personally in London, and he has followed his career closely, especially cutting for the Colombian National Team.

“He is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. I do not share the criticisms that have been made when saying that he is very short, he has shown why he has had a great career “.

Despite his young age, Alexei Rojas Fedorushchenko has clear goals in his life.

Aside from his school responsibilities in grade 10, he has now begun his preparation to become a professional sport as a licensed coach from the Football Association of England.

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“I want to become one of the best goalkeepers in the world and tackle in the senior team in Colombia,” concluded the young goalkeeper.

The Colombia U-17 National Team has been working in the capital of the Republic since last Monday, with 23 players, and they will be concentrated until next December 22.

Alexei Rojas is one of the three ‘foreigners’ cited by Cárdenas for this cycle of work.

The other gifts are Jhonnier Montaño Barona, from Municipal de Peru and who is the son of the midfielder who passed through America and Colombia Selection.

The other player from abroad is Mateo Pinilla, from Dynamo FC in the United States.

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