Chicago Maroon: For how long have you been playing soccer?
Jorge Sanchez-Cummings: I have been playing soccer since I was three years old. It is the one sport all boys begin to play when they are young in Mexico, and I stuck with it ever since.
CM: Did you always know you’d play in college? How did you approach the recruitment process as an international student?
JSC: I did not even think about playing soccer in college until I was 16. Unfortunately, back in Mexico, it is difficult to pursue a successful academic and athletic career. Most of the times you do either one or the other, but I never felt comfortable making that decision. I knew I wanted to play and I knew I wanted to study, so I started looking for options somewhere else. I attended a couple of recruiting camps here in the U.S. and got exposed to the student-athlete model, which was very congruent with what I wanted.
CM: What are the differences between soccer in Mexico and the soccer in the U.S.? What was the transition like?
JSC: The game is certainly different. I would say that—again, generally—in the U.S. you find better athletes than in Mexico, but in Mexico you find better soccer players than in the U.S. I grew up, and most of my teammates back home grew up, only playing soccer, therefore our set of athletic skills is limited to a single sport. Here, because my teammates grew up playing basketball, football, baseball, lacrosse, etc., they also have a set of skills that, although is not specific to soccer, it certainly helps in terms of being stronger and faster. This difference shows in games. The game here is much more physical, and in Mexico it is much more technical. The tactical aspects seems to be what both have in common.