There was his "Mexican family," the [Daniel Torres Jr.] clan, who took him in and showed him the way in Santa Barbara; his "American family," the Smiths, who "opened their arms, hearts and home" to Martins while he was in college; and there was his coach at Santa Barbara City College and UC Santa Barbara, Tim Vom Steeg, who discovered [Thiago Martins] playing in a park.
Martins was selected by Chivas USA in the ninth round of the MLS expansion draft and has been a steady hand on an unsteady team.
GLAD TO BE HERE: Thiago Martins, a Brazilian playing for Chivas USA, played in the A-League before being drafted to MLS.; PHOTOGRAPHER: Brian Bahr Getty Images; REVERSAL OF FORTUNE: Thiago Martins had to beg for money in Santa Barbara before soccer helped turn him around.; PHOTOGRAPHER: Chris Pizzello Associated Press