For Carlos Valdes, the plan is simple: just enjoy every minute of the experience.
When the Philadelphia Union's central midfielder found out he was one of two All-Star selections by MLS Commissioner Don Garber, the immediate reaction was one of pure bliss.
Valdes’ first career All-Star Game will be a memorable one with PPL Park playing host for Wednesday’s match between Champions League winners Chelsea FC and the MLS All-Stars. The midseason showcase will be broadcast live on ESPN2, TeleFutura and in Canada on TSN and RDS starting at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Since Valdes was selected, he’s been focusing on helping the Union win. With a break until Sunday against the New England Revolution, Valdes plans on reveling in the All-Star excitement.
When the match concludes, he’ll focus solely on the Revolution.
But in the meantime, it’s about having fun while competing with the best players in MLS against a world-class club such as Chelsea FC.
“It’s an honor for me to represent the Union in this game,” said Valdes, the Union’s captain and third career All-Star following Sebastien Le Toux and Faryd Mondragon. “We have others who could be playing, too, so I’m very honored to be picked. I’m going to have fun with the whole thing and make some memories. It’s an exciting time for me and I’m proud to represent Philadelphia.”
Valdes trained with the MLS All-Stars Monday morning at the NovaCare Complex, the Philadelphia Eagles’ immense practice facility.
Just being on the same field with All-Stars from every other club is a bit of an overwhelming feeling – in a great way.
“To be picked as an All-Star is something you want because it’s an honor,” Valdes said. “My main goal is about winning matches with the Union. Being here at PPL Park on Wednesday in front of our home fans is amazing. To hear my name called is going to be incredible. Being on the field with players like Landon Donovan and all the other great ones … I’m honored as I said. As a commissioner’s pick, I’m so happy. Just to be with these great players, I’m so happy.”
So are Valdes’ teammates.
“Carlos has done a great job this season and he deserves this,” said midfielder Brian Carroll. “He’s worked very hard to get here and he deserves this honor. He’s played terrific soccer all season.”
“I think that Carlos has been amazing all season,” added Amobi Okugo. “He’s been so consistent all season and he has played great every game. He’s a great teammate and we all support him.”
Valdes plans on having fun, but he’s also going to prepare as vigorously as he always does.
“This is an enjoyable game, but I think once you play, you want to win, yes,” Valdes said. “I want to have fun with everything leading up and through the All-Star Game. If my name is called, I will play as I can to represent the All-Stars and the Union in PPL Park. I’m just so happy to be included in this great game.”