Yashir Pinto: The Palestine International Discovered On The Social Network

Are you more interested in updating your Snapchat/Insta/Facebook than anything to do with career stuff?

If you fancy a job in your favorite sport maybe you should consider updating your online profile on the social network for movers and groovers looking for a career change.

Heard about Yashir Pinto?

The 27 year old, was born in Chile, to Chilean parents, and for a long time it appeared as though he would play internationally for the country.

He impressed at youth level for Chile, scoring eight goals in 24 appearances for the Under-20s and played at the 2011 South American Under-20 Championship around the time future Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal - now at Barcelona - were dominating also making local waves.

But the tournament was a disappointing one for Chile, who were thrashed 5-1 by a Brazil team containing Danilo, Neymar, Oscar and Lucas Moura.

Of that Chilean Under-20 squad, just six players went on to win caps for the senior national team.

And it was from a completely unexpected source - networking site LinkedIn, mainly by people promoting their businesses and professionals such as lawyers and accountants - that Pinto became a full international.

Pinto was one of several young players invited to travel with the senior Chile squad to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

The team were coached by current Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa, who has managed all around the world and whose admirers include Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Tottenham counterpart Mauricio Pochettino.

Failing to get anywhere domestically, the forward decided to try his luck abroad and went on to play in Canada, Germany, Hungary and Malaysia, where he won the league with Melaka United.

It was while playing for Budapest outfit Ujpest in 2015 that the first contact with Palestine came, from a somewhat unusual source.

An official from the Palestine Football Association sent him a message on LinkedIn saying they had been trying to contact him for a long time to play internationally for Palestine because his grandfather came to Chile from Palestine as a small child.

Hearing stories throughout his childhood talked about his homeland meant he always had thoughts of playing for Palestine in the back of his mind, and he didn't disappoint on his debut, scoring twice in a 7-0 World Cup qualifying thrashing of East Timor in Hebron.

Here he is with some of his team mates.

 

The forthcoming Asian Cup will welcome plenty more Palestinian supporters but, for Pinto, the real dream is to see them present at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Dreams can come true kids!

Update that Linked In profile now!