The latest submission in our ongoing ‘Share your FIWC story’ series comes from
two-time FIWC Grand Finalist Ruben Morales Zerecero.
Ruben: “I have been a fan of Club America, one of the most successful teams in Mexico, since I was little. From the first time I visited the Estadio Azteca, my life has never been the same. Every time I watched a Club America match I dreamed of being there, on the field, playing alongside my favourite players.
I convinced my mother to enrol me in a football class. When I finally made it onto a promising youth team (this team trained talented youngsters for a popular Mexican first division club) I had to face a harsh reality: I was neither tall nor strong enough to become a professional footballer. One of my biggest dreams fell apart - I would never be on the field with my idols.
In 2004, my life changed forever. I was browsing a gaming website when I saw it: “FIFA is proud to announce the first FIFA Interactive World Cup.” I was given another chance to become a football superstar; to be the best player in my country, Mexico and maybe even the world!
I started a journey that continues to this day. The first FIWC was in 2004 and I had to qualify for a regional tournament that was going to be held in New York. I tried my best and got into the quarter-finals. I came close to getting my ticket to New York, but lost against Jose Alberto Reyes Loera. At that time he was a stranger to me; today he is one of my closest friends.
I had to wait one year for my next chance. FIWC05 opened and again I had to qualify for the regionals which would be in Los Angeles this time. I was well prepared and confident that I could win. I made it to the finals. The match was incredibly close and ended 3-1 in my favour. I travelled to Los Angeles knowing that this was my big chance. It was DO or DIE!
I progressed to the semi-finals, where I had to face one of the favourites. In the 86th minute we were tied 1-1 and the game was going back and forth. Suddenly, my opponent got a chance; he was alone against the goalkeeper. His shot hit the post! I started my counter attack and dribbled by some defenders. I was far away from goal and had no passing options. I decided to shoot from distance. The ball flew with such strength, hit the post and goal! I fell to my knees in disbelief. I was just one game away from the Grand Final. I was completely focused during the final and won 4-2. The FIWC05 Grand Final was waiting for me in London!
I was well prepared for the 2005 Grand Final and quite confident. I played really well and made it into the final four. My semi-final was as tough as they get; I faced local hero Chris Bullard. After only 25 minutes I received a red card for a midfield foul. I forced the game into extra time with a 2-2 score. With just ten players it became increasingly difficult to defend. Chris scored twice and won. He would go on to become the FIWC05 Champion. I was down after the semi-final, but I had to lift my head up.
There was still one game waiting for me - the third place match. I quickly fell two goals behind but I didn't give up. I fought back to a 2-2 scoreline. A moment of poor concentration put me behind 4-2 but I was able to fight back and push the match into extra time. In extra time with just a few seconds left on the clock the scoreline was 6-6! I was mentally preparing for a penalty shoot-out when suddenly I got one last chance to attack. I grabbed the ball, checked the clock - 120th minute - I crossed the ball. Adriano jumped like an angel and struck the ball - 7-6, I won!
I was the third best player in the world and I got an official FIFA trophy! I kept training and in FIWC09 I made it into the Final match of the FIWC09 Grand Final. Bruce Grannec beat me 3-1 to become world champion. My dream of being the World Champion lives on. My advice for you is to follow your dreams no matter what it takes to reach them!”