Minnesota United newcomer Thomas Chacon awoke Friday morning and saw snowflakes in the air for the first time since his August arrival from Uruguay.
"It will be nice to see snow for the first time," he said.
Consider it one of many firsts in an introduction to a new country as well as a new league that he has only mostly observed so far, with teammate Miguel Ibarra as his travel guide for much of it.
"I think I am adjusting well, thanks to my teammates," Chacon said in Spanish through an interpreter. "Everything has been easy so far, nothing has been hard."
He was a second-half substitute for 24-plus minutes at Sporting Kansas City shortly after he arrived and started a Sept. 11 game at Houston and played the first half there. He hasn't been among the top 18 as starters or subs since then, while his new team made the push for its first playoff appearance next week.
Before last week's regular-season finale, United coach Adrian Heath said Chacon's time would come in the coming weeks. He also reminded that the 19-year-old was "signed for five years, not five weeks."
"I think I have learned and seen a lot of what this league is about, traveling and how things are handled when we leave the city," Chacon said. "I knew it would take me awhile to adjust, but I think that I have done it well."
When asked if he expects to get an opportunity yet this season, he said, "I don't know. That is a decision made by the coach. I only work hard and adapt as best I can."
The grass is greener
Allianz Field's grass was removed and the field resodded last week to fix sections damaged by drainage issues. St. John's plays St. Thomas in a football game there next Saturday and United plays its first playoff game the day after.
"So far, so good," Heath said Thursday. "From all accounts, everybody is pleased where we are at the moment."
Martin endorsing Mayor Buttigieg
United midfielder Collin Martin, the only openly gay man in U.S. major league sports, on Wednesday endorsed on social media South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg for U.S. president.
Buttigieg is the first gay candidate to run a major campaign for the office. Martin's endorsement came as the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing two landmark cases concerning LGBTQ rights.
"Athletes like me are told to keep quiet about politics, but I refuse to sit on the sidelines when my community is under attack, especially by politicians who use faith as an excuse to discriminate. That's why I'm proud to endorse Pete Buttigieg for president," Martin wrote.
Buttigieg responded, thanking Martin and writing, "We're building a movement to meet this moment and a future where all Americans belong. I'm proud to have you on our team."