Roughnecks Player Representing Cultural Background

Friday, June 26th 2015, 12:10 am
By: News On 6

The Roughnecks were home Thursday night as they faced the defending league champions, Sacramento Republic FC, and in the starting 11 they'll feature a player who's had success on an international level.

Mason Grimes has suited up for some important games for the Roughnecks, the defender's part of a tough back line domestically, but Grimes also has an international duty to uphold.

"The people there are just so happy and grateful I play for them and it's just an awesome feeling and a great experience representing the country of Guam," he said.

Grimes is the only player on the Roughnecks to play for his national team, Guam.

For a tiny Pacific island, they're an underdog in World Cup qualifying, but so far, they've defeated Turkmenistan and in the ultimate David vs. Goliath match they beat India - a country of over 1 billion people.

"They can't go to a big sporting event, so these games that we had were like the biggest sporting events that we ever had on the island. So for us to go in front of the home crowd is unbelievable," Grimes said.

Grimes said the success is due to Guam just selecting players living on the island, to reaching out to those with Guamanian heritage, including a player like Mason.

You see, he wasn't born in Guam, he was born in California. So just how is he eligible for Guam? Turns out FIFA rules allow you to play for your place birth or your parents place of birth, or your grandparents place of birth.

Take some News On 6 examples: Terry Hood could play for the US or Venezuela, I could play for the US, Barbados or the Virgin Islands.

"Starting back in college I was kind of joking around that I would play for the Guam national team and then I did the research and found out I was eligible," said Grimes.

But it's experience that's allowed him to play in countries like Iran and India, and learn more about his heritage while representing them.

"My grandmother was born there, so to go back and kind of understand my history of where I came from just means a lot to me."