With World Cup qualifier experience, Guerra brings veteran perspective to Indy Eleven

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Indy Eleven midfielder Juan Guerra knows firsthand the weight that is riding on this World Cup.

“The World Cup, it is what it is, you see people crying during the national anthem, you see people crying when they score, when they lose, when they win, it is way more than a game,” Guerra explained. “It represents absolutely everything that a country should represent,”

It was four years ago that he represented Venezuela in a series of World Cup qualifying rounds.

“When you receive that call from the national team, it’s not a gift, it’s a huge responsibility,” Guerra explained.

"For me, it was the biggest responsibility of all, knowing that you're going to be wearing your national team jersey, you're going to be representing every single father that has to wake up at 3 AM to go to work to feed their kids, when kids go to the stadium, they're going to want to be where you are."

Juan played collegiately in the US, before returning to Venezuela and eventually earning a national team roster spot.

That experience in World Cup qualifiers gives him a different perspective now as he watches this year's tournament.

"I see it a lot different, especially like we are talking about the World Cup right now,  that when you watch the national teams play, when you understand, when you know what's going through those guys' minds, when you understand how much pressure there is on each player, and each coach, you see it in a whole different way,” Guerra said.

For Juan, that pride and honor of having represented his country on the national team is something he looks to translate during his time here with the Indy Eleven and make a lasting impact on the Indianapolis community.

"When you put on this uniform, you wear this badge, it is a responsibility, I'm not just representing myself, I'm representing the whole club, the institution, the city, it's way bigger than just us.”

The Eleven are on the road Tuesday at Nashville, then will play three straight home games at Lucas Oil Stadium.

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