John Gerchak, Staff Writer
The Seattle Sounders finished last season as league champions. Inevitably, all eyes are going to be on them going into the 2020 season. The Sounders preseason started on Feb. 22, of which they split, finishing 1-1.
João Paulo has been brought in from Brazil. He is on loan from Bota Fogo Rio de Janeiro, who has his contract until the end of 2021. In a press conference following Paulos first practice with the Sounders, Head Coach Brian Schmetzer told the press that Paulo was a good passer and read the game well. He also showed great confidence in his team as they move forward into the champions league.
Seattle Sounders General Manager Garth Lagerwey also had high words of praise for Paulo’s play, saying that Paulo gave their coaching staff options. He was also pleased with Paulo’s willingness to go on loan, and talked about his willingness to come in and not necessarily be the most important player, and such.
In the same interview, Lagerwey also explained why the team rarely picks up players in the winter, and why Paulo was in a special situation. The reason being that many foreign leagues have their offseason in the summer, but Brazils season runs at the same time as American soccer.
Paulo shocked some when he used a translator during his interviews with the press. In his interview, whenever Paulo said anything himself, he sounded disinterested and gave generic answers. He also switched between using a translator and speaking directly to correspondents, depending on how hard the question was to understand, or answer, with his current knowledge of English.
For example, when asked how the team was, he was able to answer confidently, in English, that the team was good and that his teammates were all good players, but when asked how he would describe his play style and what he brings to the team, his translator answered, “In the last few years I’ve played in many different positions, midfield positions. I’m a versatile player, like they say here. I’ve played number six, number eight, number ten all those three functions, and so my characteristics; like I’m a player that likes to go to the game, but can also defend, have quality on the pass, quality on the shooting and said pieces.”
The interview took place just after Paulo’s first practice with the team, and he got bombarded with a ton of questions relating to his new teammates, many of which he had not even spent that much time with. Given that, his generic answers were not much different than any other athlete when they come to a new team.
Sounders MLS regular season play starts Mar. 1 against the Chicago Fire.