New York City Football Club forward Johnny Denis says he is honored to have received his first call-up to the Honduran National Team.
In the same week the striker turned 25 he also learned that he has been selected by Diego Vásquez to take part in a national team training camp for the first time. A proud moment for both player and his family, the recognition arrived after a strong campaign for NYCFC II in the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro season, where Denis recorded 14 goals in 18 games.
Born in New York, Denis had previously represented the US Youth National Team but had always hoped to don the shirt of Honduras; an homage to his family roots.
With his dream about to be realized, the forward could not hide his delight, adding the news means the world to him and his family.
“It feels kind of surreal,” he admitted. “I wasn't expecting it, but I feel honored.
“I get to represent my grandparents’ country. I have a lot of love for Honduras. It means so much to my family. I'm making them proud, and it’s one of the best feelings for me. I'm happy I could do it. It’s an honor. I'm more than excited and ready to perform to my best, and hopefully, put in a good performance.”
Denis’ love of soccer is inspired by several members of his family having played the sport, and the forward has also ascribed his hunger to his Honduran heritage.
“They're all soccer players,” he revealed. “They didn't play at the highest level but they had a passion for it. My dad is from Uruguay, so soccer is very big there, and my grandparents also had a big passion for the sport.
“I think there is [a Honduran trait] – that hunger of always trying to prove yourself is in my game. Because Honduras hasn't had the most notable, successful team, they've always been having to fight the giants of Concacaf: the USA, Mexico… and we've always had that chip on our shoulder! So, I think that that idea has always been with me.”
Currently in Los Angeles, enjoying the experience of a First Team training camp with Nick Cushing’s senior squad, Denis is putting no limits on his ambitions, be it with Club or country.
“I just want to perform to my best and do whatever I have to do for us to win,” he concluded.
“That that's the priority, and if that comes with me scoring goals or giving assists, then great. I'm just ready to have another breakout season with New York City FC – be it with New York City FC or Honduras, I'm just very excited for what's to come.”
NYCFC will kick off the 2023 MLS season on Feb. 25 when we visit Nashville SC at GEODIS Park (4:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).