Below is a feature from the March 2nd edition of Inside the Net.
How do you remind yourself of a special moment in life? Do you take pictures and keep them on your phone? Do you post them to social media so they never get lost? For new Philadelphia Union midfielder Marco Fabián, those memories are kept on his body as tattoos.
While the 29-year old Mexican international might only have four pieces thus far, each one is quite special and are a constant reminder of who he is and why he plays the sport he loves so dearly.
Inside his left wrist, what appears at first to be a simple cross is in fact much more: Inscribed in black ink, the tattoo helps Fabián keep each of his closest family members in mind.
"I have there my father, my mother, my sister and my grandfather because he is the most important person in my life,” the Union midfielder said recently.
Outside of the cross are a set of wings for Fabián’s brother, Jonathan, who passed away 15 years ago at the young age of 23.
The tattoo is only one of the ways that Marco keeps Jonathan at the front of his mind each day.
"There is a celebration that I do after a goal where I point to the sky and give thanks to God in the sky,” Fabián explained. “I’ve done it every time since my brother passed away because I want to give my all for him. That was my one promise to him, that I’d try my best in all my wins or anything that I do."
Travelling from the wrist, up the left arm, and toward the bicep, you find a bible verse that remains an important part of how Fabián views life. “Todo lo puedo en Cristo que me fortalice,” which translates to “I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.” The verse signifies how Fabián uses his faith as a daily part of his life as he seeks to constantly grow as a soccer player and as a human being.
On the El Tri midfielder’s right wrist you find his favorite on-field accomplishment and it’s one that constantly reminds him why he works each day to become better on the pitch: His 2012 Olympic Gold medal.
"My right side is the most beautiful moment of my career because I won the gold medal in the 2012 Olympic Games with Mexico,” Fabián said, displaying the inked image of the award. “The final was at Wembley Stadium against Brazil and I’ll never forget that moment because it was the most momentous of my career so far."
The largest piece of artwork on Fabián’s body is found on his back, showcasing his career and his travels.
"There is a map and an airplane, and it says, “Around The World,” Fabián said. “In this line of work, you never know where you are, and you are flying around the world. And I love to fly and visit as many places as I can."
While Fabián’s career has taken him from Mexico to Germany and, now, to the United States, there has always been a constant at each destination: He wants fans to know who Marco Fabián really is.
"I’m one of those people that doesn’t worry about where I go,” the Union’s new creative force smiled. “When I go to a country, I want to do my best to learn everything about that place. I want everyone to know that I’m Marco Fabián and I’m here to show you everything that I can do, and that’s the most important to me."
Starting on March 2, Union fans will have a chance to get to know Marco Fabián the soccer player. And, over the course of the 2019 season, they will begin to learn about Marco Fabián the human being. He is a man who puts his family first, who has achieved much in life yet remains incredibly ambitious, and he is a world traveler.
Marco Fabián is his tattoos, and his tattoos are Marco Fabián.