El Salvador’s Hernandez finds balance at CU20

Romilio Hernandez (blue jersey) in 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship action against Honduras. (Photo: Mexsport)

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – When opportunity presented itself, Romilio Hernandez answered the call.

The United States-born midfielder was discovered by Salvadoran Football Federation coaches during a scouting trip to his home state of Maryland prior to the nation’s participation in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

As a result, Hernandez, whose family has roots in El Salvador, was invited to join the squad.

The now 19-year-old appeared once in Turkey, a 3-0 setback to the host nation.

That experience, though, has seen him take the next step in his evolution as a player and person at the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship in Jamaica.

Hernandez has been outstanding throughout the competition, turning in assured performances from the midfield.  His clutch goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time gave the Cuscatlecos a 3-2 win over Canada on January 15.

The Salvadorans (1-2-1, 5 points) currently sit third in the Group B table and will secure a place in Saturday’s playoffs with a win over fourth-place Cuba (1-1-2, 4 points) on Thursday at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.

“I think we’re doing a good job,” Hernandez told CONCACAF.com after a 3-1 loss to table-topping Mexico (4-0-0, 12 points) on Monday.  “Now we have to focus, forget everything that happened (against Mexico) and start focusing on the Cuba game.  And try to do well and get three points out of there, so we can stay in the top three and fight one more day to try to get to the World Cup.”

It hasn’t been all fun and games for Hernandez, however.  He is a student-athlete at the University of Louisville in the United States and has been keeping up with his studies, while helping his team in its bid to qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

“They (the University of Louisville) support me and I thank them,” expressed Hernandez, who netted two goals in last July’s Central American qualifying competition.  “Everybody at the University of Louisville is supporting me right now, watching the games at home.  I’ve had full support from my coaching staff to go ahead, talk to my teachers and also get information.  I’m out here taking care of my schoolwork, at the same time, enjoying myself.”

That’s what the impressive Hernandez is all about, fulfilling responsibilities on and off the field.  Clearly, he’s doing a great job at both.