Can you name a Major League baseball player born in the Dominican Republic? Correct answers include Robinson Canó, Bartolo Colón and any of the 568 players who have taken a swing or thrown a ball in MLB parks since 1950.
Now, can you name a famous Dominican football player? Yep, my brain is cramping too. Here is one that’s worth remembering: Raúl de Tomás. The 19 year-old striker was born in Madrid and is a citizen of both Dominican Republic and Spain. Last Saturday he made history by being the first Dominican to start a match for the first team at Real Madrid, ever.
De Tomás has spent his budding career at Real Madrid and his ability to score goals has made him one of the top prospects of the lauded development program. During the 2011-2011 season he won the Pichichi for best scorer on his team. He was promoted to join the R.M. Castilla FC, coached by Zinedine Zidane, for the 2012-2013.
Here is a little taste of what he has been able do.
His powerful shot and speed, as well as his talent for finding the back of the net persuaded coach Carlo Ancelotti to take him on the US tour “Los Merengues” embarked on and even made him part of the opening lineup for their first match against Inter. Regardless of his abilities with the ball, one thing is certain: he has the Ronaldo hair-do just right; whatever works, I suppose.
Unfortunately for the Dominican Republic, he is now committed to playing for Spain –he has done so at both U-17 and U-19 levels. It would have helped the island nation football a lot; sort of how the success of Dwight Yorke managed to help Trinidad football grow. The Dominican Republic sure needs the help: currently it stands just below Tajikistan, in 125th place in the ranking, with Burundi and Kazakhstan following behind.