In his own words Alex Sanchez talks about his time playing in Australia for Sydney Olympic, his ambitions to study human rights and why he relishes being a role model for kids. PHOTOS by loopii.
When Alex Sanchez made his La Liga debut for Real Zaragoza in 2009 he became the first player born with one hand to appear in a professional football game.
Growing up as a person with a disability
Honestly I don’t know if some coaches didn’t want to pick me because I was born with one hand because I just tried to enjoy myself on the pitch and I didn’t care about the rest.
I have been playing soccer since I was eight and it has made me really happy because I have enjoyed every single minute of it.
So, football has been really important in my life for that reason. It made me feel like part of society from the beginning.
From the time I was in school I didn’t feel like that I had a problem, I just mostly cared about playing soccer.
Being a role model
When I was in Spain I just wanted to be known for soccer. But now that I am older I see that it’s really good to be a role model - because it’s important for the kids.
Especially because I am in Australia it’s special for me. It’s important for other people because I come here as an inspiration and a role model for them.
It’s pretty important for me because I didn’t have someone I could mirror myself on when I was young - there was no role model when I was a kid.
Studying Human Rights
I am already a qualified lawyer. I finished my law degree when I was playing in Spain and right now I plan to complete a PhD in human rights. I am going to finish the PhD in December when I go back to Spain.
What I want to study specifically is human rights in sport. When I finished the law degree one of the teachers asked me if I wanted to do a PhD in that field because I was already a footballer in Spain.
So I said, yes I want to try that. Because I wanted to keep studying after I finished playing soccer. At the time I couldn’t work as a lawyer because I was a professional footballer in Spain.
Human rights in sport is important to me. I’m talking about the situation in Europe, because I don’t know if it’s the same situation in Australia but from my experience footballers don’t have the same treatment like the rest of population.
We were treated differently in different aspects of our lives. There are a lot of human rights issues where football players don’t have the same rights as the rest of the people.
So for that reason I wanted to do a PhD in that field and I belive that I will really enjoy doing that.