Ronald Matarrita has been nominated for CONCACAF’s Best XI of 2016.
NYCFC’s Costa Rican full-back is coming off what he describes as the best year of his young career so far.
The 22-year old was a huge part of the team in Patrick Vieira’s team which qualified for the MLS Playoffs and is grateful for this latest recognition for his work.
After learning of his nomination in the “defenders” category, Ronald paid tribute to his coach and to his teammates.
Matarrita told NYCFC.com: “For me, it’s something great, something different.
“It’s something that I fought for all season and now that I’m part of it I’m so grateful to God, to my teammates, and to everyone who gave me the confidence to do it in the best way.
“I think for me; it’s been the best season of my life. In all of my career, I think being part of this team has been incredible. I reflect this past season as the best of my life.
“It’s been a great experience playing under Patrick. I also used to watch him play and he was an incredible player back then and now he’s an incredible coach. He’s coaching us in the best way and I have no doubt that in the future he’ll be one of the greatest coaches in the world.”
Mata has also enjoyed a great start to the Hexagonal section of FIFA World Cup qualifying, chalking up a goal and an assist in Costa Rica’s wins over Trinidad and Tobago and USA.
Playing in a World Cup for his country is becoming an increasingly realistic dream for the defender and it’s one that he’s putting in the hard yards to try to achieve.
“It’s something that I’m definitely fighting for,” he reflected.
“For me, it would be incredible to play with the national team of my country in the World Cup. No doubt, I’m fighting hard for it in the best way I can, always with the hand of God, and by always giving the best of me on the pitch.
“For me, I want to do the same thing I’m doing now and to maintain the momentum I have now.
“Of course, there are a lot of things I want to improve on but one of my targets for 2017 is to raise the level I’m at now or to maintain it – both for NYCFC and for my national team. I’m very happy at the level I’m at right now.”