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The solitary fan who turned an inspiration

The Greatest FIFA Soccer Awards™ (FIFA.com) 21 Sep 2018 [embedded content] The one away supporter who travelled to the sport Described by Ch...

 

The Greatest FIFA Soccer Awards™

  • The one away supporter who travelled to the sport
  • Described by Chilean star Arturo Vidal as “an actual fan”
  • Will he win The FIFA Fan Award for 2018?

Nunca jugarás sólo (You may by no means play alone) is the promise that Sebastian Carrera has emblazoned on the flag of his beloved Membership de Deportes Puerto Montt. And judging by what he did late final 12 months, you would need to say he’s man of his phrase.

On Sunday 22 October 2017, Carrera was the one Albiverde fan who travelled the 1,500 kilometres that separate Puerto Montt from Coquimbo to cheer on his crew in a Chilean second division fixture. And it was exactly that great show of loyalty that earned him a nomination for The FIFA Fan Award for 2018.

“It is superb the whole lot that has occurred since then,” Carrera instructed FIFA.com. “And to assume that I virtually didn’t go,” added the unassuming 34-year-old.

Earlier than

Although a slightly shocking revelation, it’s nearly as good a spot as wherever to begin the story.

“The Monday earlier than the sport I instructed my spouse, who I met by means of soccer eight years in the past, that I in all probability wouldn’t go due to a household celebration we’d deliberate at residence. However once I came upon on the Friday afternoon that none of my associates had been travelling, I mentioned to myself: ‘I can’t miss it’.”

As ever, getting break day was not an issue, with Sebastian having organised his hours with the retail gross sales firm he works for with the Puerto Montt fixture in thoughts. With that sorted, his epic journey might start.

“Driving was out of the query and my funds doesn’t allow flying, so on Friday I boarded my first bus and headed to Santiago. There I rested up for a number of hours earlier than departing that night time for Coquimbo, the place I obtained in round 5am Sunday morning.”

Stats from his journey

  • 3000: the overall variety of kilometres he travelled that weekend
  • 40: the approximate variety of hours he spent on board buses
  • 5000: the worth in Chilean pesos (roughly USD $ eight) he paid for his match ticket

Carrying the membership’s conventional white and inexperienced jersey and only a mild jacket, he started to really feel conspicuous among the many gathering supporters of Coquimbo Unido. “They’re a really fanatical bunch so, to keep away from any issues, I walked some seven kilometres alongside the coastal avenue to La Serena, which is much less of a footballing metropolis.”

After taking a nap on the seashore, he had one thing to eat then made his method to the stadium. It was there that he obtained his first large shock of the day: the guests’ stand and ticket sales space had been each closed.

“They hadn’t offered a single ticket and they also requested me if there have been extra Puerto Montt followers coming. I hadn’t seen any others, so that they opened the away finish only for me. They even put safety in there!”

See additionally

FIFA Fan Award: Vote now!

Throughout

So how had been you handled by the four,000 residence followers? “At first there have been a number of insults thrown, however simply ribbing for probably the most half. However then after they noticed I used to be going to maintain cheering anyway, they warmed to me.”

The picture of him standing on their own in that stand shortly went viral, and by half-time Roja icon Arturo Vidal had already posted the image of Sebastian on Instagram with the remark: “This can be a actual fan”.

Then after the sport, he skilled many sort gestures from the house followers, this regardless of having watched their crew go down 2-1 to the visiting Puerto Montt facet. “Some applauded me, others provided to purchase me meals or drink and convey me to the bus station… I’d by no means had something like that occur to me earlier than.”

After

Within the days that adopted, many Puerto Montt gamers took to social media to thank him for his assist, and he even had a congratulatory name from one Coquimbo participant.

“My spouse mentioned she was very pleased with me, as was my boss, who knew how fanatical I used to be however hadn’t realised the type of sacrifices I used to be making. Many members of the general public had been additionally proud and approached me to say how I used to be an inspiration to them. It was all very gratifying.”

For all that, his subsequent nomination for the FIFA Fan Award got here as a shock. “I had simply returned from dropping off my daughter at college once I began getting calls to say my nomination was being reported in a number of media shops.”

Fairly quickly he obtained the affirmation he wanted. “I checked the FIFA web site, and once I noticed it there I needed to pinch myself. I needed to work that afternoon, however my head was elsewhere throughout that shift.”

This die-hard fan, who has by no means been exterior his homeland, admits that “profitable the award can be very vital not only for me, but additionally for the membership, for Chile and for the tens of millions of followers like me in golf equipment in all places.”