Under-20 World Cup: Richard Sanchez blogs from Turkey

Sanchez U20

What's up everybody back in Dallas! 

Being here in Turkey is actually killing two birds with one stone. I've been wanting to visit the country and I also get to play another World Cup with Mexico- this time with the U20s. When my team and I first landed in Istanbul for a connecting flight to our host city, Gaziantep, we were greeted by our tournament representative and received a warm welcome. Taking in consideration what the media has had to say about what's going on in Turkey, we were all a bit concerned about our safety, but the welcoming that our representative greeted us with made feel a sense of security.

VISIT the FC Dallas 2013 Under-20 World Cup hub

We crossed customs and border control at the airport and waited for our bags to arrive. As we waited, I met another Turkish fellow who was also a representative. He knew how to speak English so I struck up a conversation by introducing myself. As I spoke to him, he apparently told me he was familiar with of a couple of my teammates from our U-17 World Cup Championship in Mexico. I thought to myself, "Wow, the dude knows about us and he lives all the way in Turkey!"

It was honestly a bit of a surprise for me and I thought it was cool. I got comfortable speaking with him, so I went ahead and asked him about the security in Turkey at the moment. He told me everything was under control and we were under no threat. He continued to tell me that, in Gaziantep, we would get the chance to enjoy some delicious desserts- especially baklava- and really good kabob. I'm a big fan of exotic foods, so I definitely look forward to trying those out.

READ: Chris Seitz recounts his 2007 Under-20 World Cup experience

I am now in Gaziantep and have been enjoying it. Our food menu doesn't change much from what we’re used to, but every now and then we get something different. The white rice the hotel has to offer is pretty good, especially because of the texture. I've mainly noticed the different spices and oils that the different foods contain. The desserts that we've been offered also taste really good, but I have yet to try the baklava.

Today is the start of the World Cup. Our first game isn't until tomorrow, Saturday, but I will be watching my teammates Danny Garcia and Kellyn Acosta take on Spain. Be sure to follow the U-20 World Cup. You wouldn't want to miss out on any good talent!