Honduras international Erick Norales (blue jersey) has been a standout for the USA's Indy Eleven during its first North American Soccer League season. (Photo: Indy Eleven/Trevor Ruszkowski)
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – The majority of Erick Norales’ career has been spent in his native Honduras, but the durable defender is now a member of Indy Eleven in its inaugural North American Soccer League (NASL) year.
Playing in a new country can be filled with adjustments and acclimatization. The 29-year-old, though, is settling into his new surroundings just fine.
“It has been a very nice experience,” said Norales. “They brought me here to tryout and gave me this opportunity. They treat me well and, in the team, we are getting to know each other better and I think that shows on the field.
“I am very happy and I’m learning English little by little.”
On the pitch, Norales has scored two goals in nine matches. He enjoys playing alongside Kleberson – a 2002 World Cup champion with Brazil -- and competing against players such as the New York Cosmos’ Marcos Senna, who won the 2008 European Championship with Spain.
“There are people from all parts of the world here and they have welcomed me,” he commented.
Like any Catracho, the performance of Honduras in the recently completed World Cup was of great interest to Norales. Despite the results, he believes that the team’s journey in Brazil is going to produce benefits.
“I think that experience serves to make you better,” explained Norales. “Now some players have played in two World Cups and for any footballer that experience is good.”
Norales has won 30 caps for Honduras and has appeared in three editions of the CONCACAF Champions League with Marathon. The memories gained from those international adventures are treasured.
“To play in the Champions League is a nice memory,” Norales expressed. “There, only the best play. They are the best of the area. I enjoyed scoring goals against Cruz Azul and D.C. United and, in addition, it was an honor to represent my country.”
Another noteworthy time in his career came in 2012 as a member of China’s Hunan Billows.
“If I have problems speaking English, imagine speaking Chinese or writing it,” laughed Norales. “It is a different culture and it was a very nice experience.”
Many productive years on the pitch remain for the former Vida star, who has established two clear objectives.
“First, I want to emerge as champion here with Indy and we have the team to do it,” he concluded. “And, well, I would like to play again on the national team.
“With work, I maintain faith that those two things can happen.”