23-year-old called up to Costa Rican National Team ahead of first season with Nashville SC
NASHVILLE – Every year, thousands of young 20-somethings move to Music City with the hopes of becoming the next big star.
Randall Leal is no exception, but instead of chasing honky tonk dreams, he’s chasing championships with Nashville SC in its first season in Major League Soccer.
The 23-year-old dynamic attacking midfielder was acquired from Costa Rican giant Deportivo Saprissa in September and continues to get looks from the Costa Rican National Team, having been called up for their Feb. 1 friendly against the United States. Becoming a star for Nashville SC is a tall task in a brand-new country, but Leal is ready for all of it.
“I think it is a challenge as much for me as for the club,” Leal said. “I think is nice to be a part of the history this club is making their mark on. For the first game and this first season I think it is important to do things right. To not only make history by participating, but also to demonstrate that we are a team that has been well-built and also to show that we will fight for the championship.”
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Leal’s first taste of Nashville came back on Jan. 18 at the club’s kit reveal party, presented by Renasant Bank. He joined his teammates at the sold-out Wildhorse Saloon in downtown Nashville to meet Nashville SC fans for the first time.
“It’s great,” Leal said. “I haven’t had the opportunity to come to Nashville before. I got here today, and I have been very impressed by the people and the fans and the way they support this club. You can feel the heat. I think this will be a luxurious season for us.”
The young Costa Rican comes to Nashville riding high after capturing the CONCACAF League title with Saprissa in 2019. It was the first of what he hopes to be many trophies in his soccer career.
“It was nice,” Leal said. “It was my first trophy. I participated in two finals there and we lost both before that. However, I think that an international trophy leaves you with a lot. The importance was the pressure that was generated by it and how it left an impact as a player as well as the confidence a player receives from it. It’s important to take advantage of that experience and put all of it into practice here in Nashville.”
Now, Leal is with his teammates in Florida and getting on the pitch with them for the first time. Even though he’s only been around his teammates for a few days, he is anxious to link up on and off the pitch in order to create a winning culture and a winning team.
“I am anxiously waiting for the first match,” Leal said. I just met all my teammates and I believe that this group is very united and can become very strong. The important thing is to try our best to maintain that unity in the group. I am looking forward and waiting to be out on the pitch with them.”