Carlos Miguel Coronel, beard and all, is ready if called upon

On Saturday evening, with Andre Blake on international duty with Jamaica, there is a strong chance new Philadelphia Union signing Carlos Miguel Coronel will make his first Major League Soccer start. Coming off a performance for Bethlehem Steel in which he was nominated for Save of the Week and marshalled a young defense, Coronel believes he is ready for this next challenge.

I’m very motivated and the most important thing is that I worked really hard for this. I hope to make the very first game and that we get these three points for the Philadelphia Union," Coronel told The big Brazilian arrived from Red Bull Salzburg in the offseason and has already improved his English by leaps and bounds from when he first set foot in Philly. "“Of course every goalkeeper needs to have good communication skills and I’ve been studying English a lot so I believe for the basic orientation on the field, it is not going to be a problem," he said when asked if there would be a language barrier between himself and his defense.

"Of course you have to try and improve in order to develop better communication skills but I think I’ll be able to do this.”

Although still young, Coronel shows impressive maturity when discussing a potential first start. He admits that nerves play a role in anybody's preparation for a first appearance on a new club, but he believes that is something he has the mental fortitude to handle. "Of course every player has a certain degree of anxiety," he said. "But we prepare ourselves psychologically and physically, and there are other positive aspects to be considered such as the stadium, the climate."

One certainty is that Coronel will sport what has already become his signature facial hair: A thick, flowing beard. "I really like this style," he laughed. "I’ve been trying to keep this for a really long time and I go to the barber shop to take care of it."I have adopted this for me and it’s my lifestyle now and I want to keep it for a long time." 

That confidence to be your own person is key for a keeper, and Union fans may see Coronel show his skills in goal for the first time against Columbus Crew Saturday night. Tickets are available here.

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