Sagu opens up about World Cup, Sidekicks, and more

For the past seven seasons, one of the cornerstones of the Sidekicks’ success has been goalkeeper Sagu. He first signed with the Sidekicks in 1999, and was an integral part of the team’s 2001 WISL championship season. When the franchise returned in 2012, Sagu was one of the first to return to Dallas, which he now considers home.

His stellar play throughout the 2012-13 season helped the Sidekicks win their division, and earned him the second spot in voting for PASLMVP. This past season, the veteran spent a portion of the year out with an injury, but marked his return with three-straight wins to earn him a nod as PASL Player of the Week in early February.

Taking a break from preparations for the upcoming season, the native of São Paulo, Brazil, answered some questions about the World Cup, what he thinks of his country’s chances, and the upcoming Sidekicks season.

Q: What do you think of your home country’s chances in the World Cup?
A:
I think Brazil has a big chance to win it all this year. We have a very talented team with a strong defense, and offensive weapons like Neymar. There are a lot of positives about this team and I think they should go far.

Q: Does playing at home give the Brazilians an advantage?
A:
I can tell you from my experiences that playing in front of your home crowd can give you a big advantage and a big boost. You want to do well and make your fans, and in this case your country, proud. The energy the fans bring to the game can be inspiring, and from what I’ve seen so far they are doing their job.

Q: You have lived in the USA for about 15 years now. What do you think of the development of the U.S. National Team?
A:
The U.S. team has done a tremendous job so far, and I think they have impressed a lot of people in this World Cup. The development and popularity of soccer has grown so much since I came to the U.S., especially with children. The country is doing a great job developing talented young players. The U.S. National Team definitely has a bright future.

Q: The Dallas Sidekicks are going through a lot of changes this offseason, one of the biggest being the formation of the Major Arena Soccer League. This joins together teams from the former PASL and MISL. How do you think the level of competition will change this year?
A:
It is going to get a lot tougher, for sure. We expect the teams we played against last year to get better, and know that the teams new to us are going to be very good. The merger and new league is going to be the best thing for indoor soccer because all of the top teams are united. I’m looking forward to our first match against Missouri. Playing the MISL champions will be a good test for us right at the beginning.

Q: How do you stay in shape and prepare for training camp during the offseason?
A:
During the summer I coach and run camps, so I am always outside running around and training with my players. I try to spend some time in the gym, but for me, I think that just playing soccer is the best way for me to stay in shape.

The Sidekicks will open the 2014-15 season on Sat., Oct. 25, taking on the 2013-14 MISL champion Missouri Comets in the inaugural game of the MASL. The match will be played at the Sidekicks’ home arena, the Allen Event Center. Tickets for the home opener go on sale Aug. 1, while season tickets and group packages are currently available. For more information, please call 214-730-3092 or email tickets@dallassidekicks.net.

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