The longtime U.S. youth player looks back at where he's been and forward to where he's going.
- Juan Agudelo
- Jozy Altidore
- Kyle Beckerman
- Steven Beitashour
- Tony Beltran
- Austin Berry
- Matt Besler
- Nat Borchers
- Terrence Boyd
- Will Bruin
- Edson Buddle
- Teal Bunbury
- Geoff Cameron
- Edgar Castillo
- Ricardo Clark
- Bobby Convey
- Kenny Cooper
- Joe Corona
- Sam Cronin
- Danny Cruz
- Brad Davis
- A.J. Delagarza
- Nick DeLeon
- Jay DeMerit
- Maurice Edu
- Michael Farfan
- Greg Garza
- Luis Gil
- Alan Gordon
- Bill Hamid
- George John
- Sean Johnson
- Dan Kennedy
- Perry Kitchen
- Jeff Larentowicz
- Steven Lenhart
- Jack McInerney
- Lee Nguyen
- Conor O'Brien
- Amobi Okugo
- Heath Pearce
- Chris Pontius
- Nick Rimando
- Chris Rolfe
- Kelyn Rowe
- Omar Salgado
- C.J. Sapong
- Brek Shea
- Andrew Wenger
- Danny Williams
- Sheanon Williams
- Chris Wondolowski
- Graham Zusi
November 15, 2012
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF SOCCER?
I played in my city on a team called King Cobras. I was four years old.
WHO WAS YOUR SOCCER HERO GROWING UP?
Roberto Carlos. When I was really young, like 10 or 11 years old, I had some other Brazilians that helped me get playing in Brazil. Edu Americo—he played with Pele in a couple of World Cups. He’s not that well-known, but at Santos he’s pretty well-known. He’s a guy that I still look up to.
DESCRIBE YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE SUITING UP FOR THE U.S.
I’ve never been involved with the first team, but I’ve been involved since the U-14s. I think that it’s always an honor to play for your country. We’re all pretty tight, all brothers. The chemistry within the national team is always good. I’ve made some lifelong friends.
WHAT IS THE QUALITY YOU MOST ADMIRE IN A SOCCER PLAYER?
WHAT IS THE QUALITY YOU MOST DISLIKE IN AN OPPONENT?
WHAT IS THE KEY TO YOUR SOCCER SUCCESS?
I thank God for the opportunity that he’s given us all. Soccer doesn’t last forever. We have very short careers and injuries sometimes take them away, so just take advantage—don’t take it for granted. It’s something that we love to do. We come out to the support of our families every day. There nothing better than doing what you love and actually getting something from it.
WHAT IS ONE SOCCER SKILL YOU WANT TO IMPROVE?
WHO HAS HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR DEVELOPMENT?
Family is very important, and my wife as well. I had a dry spell there for about six to seven months without a club, and I think my wife was definitely the key to keeping my head in it and not giving up.
WHO IS YOUR CLOSEST FRIEND IN THE GAME?
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST SOCCER ACHIEVEMENT?
Being a professional player, being able to travel to so many different countries at this young age. Also, representing your country is something that millions of people dream of, so having that opportunity is wonderful.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST SOCCER DISAPPOINTMENT?
Not qualifying for the Olympics. With the U-20s as well. It was a bit of an embarrassment for us, for our country, but we got to learn from it. That’s the most we can take from it. Just learn from our mistakes and never let it happen again.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON YOU LEARNED FROM THE GAME?
Like I’ve said before, soccer doesn’t last forever, so I’d say just to take what life gives to you, what you can learn from it on and off the field. The people you meet on and off the field, just take everything in. I think that’s truly what makes us who we are during the game and after our careers.
WHO ARE THE MOST TALENTED TEAMMATES YOU HAVE PLAYED ALONGSIDE?
At Sporting, Miguel Veloso, Joao Moutinho, and Helder Postiga. Guys that have been in Euros, Champions League matches... just training with them is different.
WHO ARE THE TOUGHEST OPPONENTS YOU HAVE LINED UP AGAINST?
The twins, Rafael and Fabio [Da Silva]. In U-17s, about five or six times. At that time, they were incredible. One on the left, one on the right.
IF YOU WEREN'T A PROFESSIONAL SOCCER PLAYER, WHAT WOULD YOU DO FOR A LIVING?
I still go to school. I’m about to graduate in about three months. I’d work in sports management. Working in the business that raised me: football/soccer. If I wasn’t playing, I’d still be doing something with sports.
WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE DEFINITION OF SUCCESS IN THE GAME?
Believing in God, taking everything that the game gives you and making the most of it.