These are the words Houston Dynamo midfielder Jose ”Memo” Rodriguez continues to tell himself every day to become the best soccer player he can be. Memo, which the 19-year-old prefers to go by, is a Texas native who was signed in December as the sixth homegrown player in Dynamo history.
The MLS implemented the homegrown player program in order to allow MLS teams to sign players directly from their development academies to their first-team. Memo was an attractive prospect after he was named Dynamo Academy Players’ Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013. During the 2013 season he made an appearance in 25 games and scored six goals, which led to the opportunity to train with the Dynamo first team during the summers of 2013-2014 and the eventual signing of his professional contract this past December.
Early on, Memo encountered many challenges in his life which have taught him discipline and dedication. When he was in high school he had to commute to Houston for practice every day immediately after school and he wouldn’t arrive home until late each night. He still had to do homework, eat, and shower. His days were exhausting and long, which made him consider giving up at one time.
His inspiration came from his three brothers and mother, who encourage him to work hard every day and to stay motivated and dedicated to the plan. His family supported him through all the good and bad, helping him overcome the numerous challenges in his life. The dedication is paying off now.
“Always listen to your parents even when you think they are completely wrong,” Memo said with a sentimental chuckle.
His mom supported Memo’s difficult choice to not pursue a college education and that appears to be paying off as well.
While he signed his professional contract in December, his move to the first team has been gradual. Memo explained the transition as manageable because he had been practicing with the first team for a few months before he signed his contract, but he admits he is doing things in his life a lot differently now that he has a professional contract.
The 19-year-old’s life is increasingly changing on his path to becoming a successful professional soccer player at a young age. His triumph through adversity has changed Memo from the young kid who used to have juggling competitions in his backyard with his family, to a professional soccer player and the new routine and expectations.
Memo’s goals and dreams for the future are to play for a National team and represent either Mexico or the United States in a World Cup or Olympics. He is looking forward to his debut with the Houston Dynamo while working hard to improve his game each day.
When asked what pushes Memo to work hard every day, his response embodied what kind of person and athlete Memo Rodriguez strives to be.
Memo Rodriguez’s professional soccer career will bring plenty of anticipation and intrigue, but for now his story will be…. to be continued.
Special thanks to the Houston Dynamo for this interview and for the photos provided in this article. To learn more about the Dynamo or to see Memo and his team in action, visit houstondynamo.com
WATCH: An interview with Memo. He talks about his journey through Dynamo Academy, training with the 1st team and his biggest soccer influences.