Colombians Come to Play for Crawdads

06/28/2015 4:50 PM - 

They share a common love for baseball.

"My father played baseball and I used to watch," said Jose Mercado.

"When I was little, I saw baseball and I liked it," added Mateo Rodriguez.

Jose and Mateo are two teenagers from Medellin. It's the second largest city in Colombia, but it's also a place with limited opportunities for young athletes.

"These two kids were brought to our attention that were talented, and willing and wanting to go to America to get educated and to play baseball," said Tim Fanning of More Than A Game.

So the Phenix City Crawdads and More Than A Game started a process six months ago to bring the kids back with them after their mission trip in Colombia. After a lot of paperwork and prayer, Jose and Mateo's dream of playing in America became a reality, becoming the two newest members of the Crawdads team.

"This is a vision for them, this is a dream," said Crawdads coach, Mike Getkin. "They've never been to America so having them even on our soil- it's amazing. And then you have the hurdles of trying to communicate with them because they know baseball but they don't know the terminology that they use they have a different slang for it, but I think these kids are fitting in pretty well."

Two Colombian teens who've spent the last couple of weeks adjusting, but are grateful for the opportunity of a lifetime. They're surrounded by players who are equally as grateful for their newest teammates.

"It's a lot of fun and a great atmosphere with them around," said Crawdads player, Drew Lingo. "They bring a whole other game to our game."

Mateo and Jose will be with the Crawdads until August. After the season, the Crawdad coaches are hoping that a college will give them the chance to continue their baseball careers in America