When you are a young boy in Brazil, your first birthday gift is usually a football. It wasn't different for me. Ever since then, I knew that this was the only thing I wanted to do in my life. When I was around five or six years old, I asked my Dad if football would still exist when I grow up. I was very afraid that football would disappear from this globe and I would not know what else to do!
That's amusing yet adorable at the same time! What made you move from Brazil to play indoor football in the US then?
My first professional contract with A.A Portuguesa (a Brazilian team) was about to expire when my friend called me to attend the tryouts for the American Indoor League. I told my friend that I did not want to do it as I thought it was a scam; these tryout scams are pretty common in Brazil. My friend then asked me if I could at least bring him to the tryout venue since I knew where it was.
When we got there, he had already paid for my registration and gotten me a pair of shoes to train with! The result of his persistence to get me in the tryouts was that I ended up as one of the four players selected from the 400 who showed up on that day. That was how I ended up in America.
Impressive. Most people are under the impression that you have spent most of your career playing indoor football - as such, are you confident of doing well in 11-a-side?
In America, it is normal for players who play in the outdoor leagues (North American Soccer League or United Soccer Leagues) to play indoor football in the winter, since there is no outdoor football for four months of the year. Hence, I played for Minnesota United in the last four summers and when the NASL season was over, I would switch to indoor football.
The reason why it appears that I only play indoor football is probably because I was very successful in the indoor game - I always helped my club make the finals and I am a former Most Valuable Player.
I am very confident that I will do well here in Singapore. I have been working very hard to maintain the best shape so that I can perform really well on the pitch. Also, I always hold the belief that if you work hard, good things will follow.
That is a good motto to abide by. So what made you decide to come to Singapore, a totally different continent and place?
If there is one thing that makes me uncomfortable, it is this disease "complacency" that makes you reluctant to venture from your comfort zone. Hence when my representatives Trebol Sports International gave me the opportunity to take on this new challenge in my life, I did not think twice about it. I am really grateful to them and Hougang United for giving me this stage to prove my worth.
Admirable attitude! Well, you have already scored in pre-season for Hougang and have got a few wins under your belt. How do you find the team to be?
I am very impressed with how we are growing as a team each week. I can see the huge difference between the time when we first started pre season and the present. I believe that by the time the league kicks off, we will be ready to give any team a run for their money.
Is there any player you have been most impressed with?
I have only been with the team for a month. However, judging by the friendly games that we have already played, I can tell that we have many talented players in our team. I am very impressed with our midfielder Azhar Sairudin as he possesses a good first touch, great passing ability and the most important thing is that he never hides himself during a game. Also, Wahyudi Wahid is a very strong defender. I always have a tough time in training playing against him. Both are great players with warm personalities.
I am sure both of them will be happy to hear your praise! Football aside, how has your time in Singapore so far been like?
It has been fantastic. I feel like I have already been here for years! I like how everything is very organised here. I don't have a car but I can get around easily on public transport. We are training twice a day for most of the days so I have had little time to explore the tourist attractions of Singapore [but] I am sure that when we get some time off, I will!
You should, there are quite a few sights to see here. What do you do during the free time you have then, and who do you hang out with?
When I get some time off, I usually spend it talking to my wife back in America or my family in Brazil. Since I do not get to be with them, I try to talk them as much as I can.
Back to the football. Do you think the team can do well this season?
I think we are going to surprise many people this season. Our coach, Amin Nasir, is doing a great job in implementing his training methods and game strategies. In our daily training, we progress from one exercise to another with a purpose. This is why I feel that the team is steadily progressing as a group.
Right. What do you think you bring to the team and what do you hope to achieve in your first season here?
I believe that when you add a player that comes from a different place, you also add a different point of view and a different mentality. Along with what you already have, the team can only benefit from all of this. I really want to help the club achieve its goals this year.
This interview was facilitated by Trebol Sports International.