Bryan Moya knew he had to make the treacherous journey from Honduras to the United States. Like so many Hondurans, he felt his family’s economic situation demanded it.

He knew the pain that could’ve awaited.

His mother, Iveth, tried migrating to the U.S. in 2009. Exhausted from hours of travel, she had an accident on the infamous ‘Bestia’ freight train that many migrants hop on in Chiapas to get to Mexico City, losing her right foot as she barely survived a fall from the train. It’s called “El tren de la muerte” — “The death train” — because of the risk of accidents like the one Iveth suffered, and the potential for robberies or attacks from those looking to prey on migrants. Iveth then had to make a long journey back to her home outside Tegucigalpa, where her son was waiting.

Still a teenager, Moya decided to go himself in 2011. He hoped to find work and help his mom. He didn’t know it would be as a professional soccer player.

“More than anything, that’s why I decided to go — not to go play or anything like that, but rather to get to the United States to be able to help her,” Moya told The Athletic this week. “She had the strength to go there for us, so being the older brother, I made the choice to go and be able to help her because it was really difficult.

“Now, she’s thankful and says God’s plans were for me, not for her, and that everything happens for a reason in life.”

This decision means that even now, Moya, who scored against the United States in San Pedro Sula and has become a regular for the Honduras national team, is not able to get the paper work needed to enter the U.S. to play games like Wednesday night’s World Cup qualifier in Saint Paul, Minn. It’s not for a lack of trying on the part of Moya or the Honduran federation.

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