EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- El Paso Locomotive FC players are known for their skills on the pitch, but in their spare time, a few are learning a new skill that has nothing to do with the world's game and instead is making them a little more worldly.
Two or three times a week Manny Sonupe, Liam Rose, Miles Lyons and Erik McCue hunker down inside a Language Plus classroom and hone their Spanish.
“For them to have the attitude to learn a new language I respect them," Emma Licon, their teacher at Language Plus said. "For me they are the best students I’ve had lately.”
With the classes, the lads are picking up speed, albeit at slightly different paces.
While Licon told ABC-7 they all have their own strengths, the guys were a little less diplomatic with everyone agreeing that either Lyons or McCue were doing the best.
In fairness to Rose and Sonupe, neither of them had any prior Spanish experience.
“Compared to where we started to where we are right now I think we’ve done quite well," Rose said.
That growth is all thanks to Licon who has 35 years of teaching experience.
The guys hope to become comfortable in holding a conversation in Spanish by the end of the season and even be able to do a complete interview in Spanish. But the main goal of their lessons is so they can become better teammates.
“It’s something I never thought I’d do but you know coming to El Paso and the way the culture is here and the team is majority Spanish speaking," Rose said. "I just think it gives us a closer bond with the team.”
“At the end of the day we may not become amazing at it but we’re going to be able to understand more," McCue said. "If you try I think it shows an appreciation and respect for the culture and that’s what we want to do for El Paso and our teammates.”
Their teammates are certainly taking notice.
“It means that they care and that they want to understand us a little bit more," Goalkeeper Benny Diaz said.
You can catch the lads on the pitch on Wednesday when they host San Antonio with kickoff at 7 p.m.