Q&A With Dallas Sidekicks Veteran Patrick Shamu
When the Dallas Sidekicks walk out onto the turf on Nov. 13 to begin their 2015-16 season, Patrick Shamu is hoping to feel right at home. The forward-turned-midfielder recently inked a new contract with the team after missing last season, and expectations are high for the veteran known for his hard work and attacking mentality.
Shamu previously spent 11 seasons with the Sidekicks, from 1995 to 2004, and 2012-14. He was a part of championship seasons in 1998 and 2001, and has scored 120 goals for the team. Born in Zaire (now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo), the 41-year-old impressed the team’s new head coach Simon Bozas with his fitness level and proven skill-set. Gearing up for what potentially could be a farewell season, he sat down to answer questions about his career, expectations for the season, and growth as a player.
Q: You first became a Sidekick in 1995. How did you first end up on the team?
A: I was friends with Gean Paul Figari, who played for the Sidekicks in 1994. He lived near me in Irving, and we met by playing on teams together for fun. He was the one who introduced me to the team and helped me get a tryout.
Q: How does it feel to be back on the turf with the Sidekicks after a season off?
A: I’m really excited to continue this great journey. I can’t wait to be back in front of the fans and experience the MASL and all of the new teams. It’s also exciting this season because everything seems new – there have been a lot of changes and I’m excited to go through the ups and downs with this group of guys.
Q: As a veteran, what does it mean to you to take on a major leadership role on the team this season?
A: I guess I have been a veteran for a long time now, but I’m always very happy to pass on to others what I know. It can be hard when you first come into playing professionally, or even coming into playing indoor, and I definitely want to help our younger guys this season. We have some very talented, very fast young guys. Just watching and playing with them motivates me to work even harder than I already am to keep up.
Q: Speaking of working hard, what have you been doing in the offseason to prepare for the season ahead?
A: Aside from our practices, which are very tough, I spend a lot of time working out on my own. Fitness is a way of life for me, an every-day commitment. I believe it has to be if you want to reach your highest level.
Q: You have always been a forward as a Dallas Sidekick; however, this season you are moving to midfield. How is the transition going?
A: It is definitely a big change, but I’m enjoying it. I had always played the same way – having my back to the net was not my thing – but I really believe in the new system our coach is going with, and I am excited for something new. In the midfield, my big goal will be keeping possession, being good defensively, and helping get the offense going. The change is keeping all of us hungry.
Q: How much of a factor is chemistry when it comes to being successful as a team?
A: That’s actually one of the things I like most about our coach this year – we know him from the soccer world, and we know that he gets it. It’s a very family-oriented atmosphere and everyone has a really good mentality going into the season. This is a really good group.
Q: Is there a particular game or opponent you are especially looking forward to?
A: The teams we have history with, like San Diego and Tacoma, are the ones I’m looking forward to the most. They bring back a lot of good memories for me.
Q: You have been a coach at the Dallas Texans for more than 10 years. Does being a coach make you a better player?
A: Coaching has had a huge impact on myself as a player. When you look at the game from the outside, it gives you a different perspective. I’ve become more particular and technical with how I read the game. It also helps you recognize growth and teaches you how to deal with different situations – especially during hard times. Every game can have a different look, and you have to learn how to adjust quickly to get the best out of your players, teammates or yourself.
Q: What advice would you give to a young player who is hoping to go pro someday?
A: At the end of the day it’s all on you doing the extra work on the side. Fitness, studying the game, studying the great players. You have to be willing to put in the work to get yourself to the level you want.
Individual game tickets for the 2015-16 regular season are available at all Ticketmaster outlets and on Ticketmaster.com. Season ticket packages, group outings, and suite offerings for the Dallas Sidekicks 2015-16 season are available by calling 469-200-GOAL or emailing email@example.com. To get the latest Sidekicks updates, follow the team on Twitter and Instagram @GoSidekicks or on Facebook at facebook.com/GoSidekicks.