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On the field and beyond, Najar has been asked to grow up remarkably fast. He was 13 when he left home behind to move to the U.S. This past October, he and his wife welcomed their first daughter.

It’s maturity that could serve him well in these Olympics. While he remains unusually soft-spoken and humble, still conducting interviews in Spanish despite his English being much better than he lets on, Najar for United hasn’t been one to shy from any situation.

Come Sunday, when Honduras faces the Spaniards, Najar could be matched up with FC Barcelona left back Jordi Alba, the breakout star for Spain’s senior squad that won the European Championship earlier this month.

Not so long ago, Najar could hardly dream of such a chance to shine.

“It’s a very exciting time,” said United coach Ben Olsen, who represented the U.S. at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. “It’s an unbelievable opportunity for him and Honduras.”