Q&A with defender Gonzalo Segares
and strong," says Honduran international Samuel Caballero. "He comes from a Latin American country, where getting the opportunity to play soccer professionally is every guy's dream come true. He knows that not everyone gets a shot like this and he's making the best of every opportunity he gets."
Chicago-Fire.com: You're coming off your third straight start and you seem to be gaining more and more confidence after each game. Has adjusting to the team been as easy as you've made it seem?
Gonzalo Segares: Not at all. It was pretty tough, especially when I first joined the team. I had a difficult time adjusting to the speed of the game, and the pressure from opposing teams was tremendous, so I found myself making lots of mistakes. But as the season progressed and I started to get more playing time with the Fire Reserves, I felt more comfortable. I'm not saying I feel completely comfortable now, because it's a work in progress, but I do feel I've improved in certain areas such as the timing of my passes and making wiser decisions.
C-F.com: The team has played in 11 games so far and the results have been inconsistent. Injuries to key players and national team call-ups have not helped. Is the team starting to worry?
GS: No, we're really just starting to know each other. There are a lot of new faces and it takes time to fully understand each other. We're going to work harder. We still have plenty of games ahead and I'm excited because we have a great group of guys who believe we can make this season special.
C-F.com: Take us back to January 2005 at the MLS SuperDraft. What kind of emotions did you go through prior to being drafted by the Fire?
GS: I was pretty nervous. I had heard that I would be drafted in the first or second rounds and when that didn't happen, I panicked. I was disappointed and I was wondering what I had done wrong at the MLS Combine. After a while I went to the back of the room and sat with my old coaches and when they finally called my name I didn't want to go up on the stage. I was that disappointed. I remember my old coach from VCU saying that being picked first or last didn't mean anything and that I had to take this opportunity to prove that I belonged in MLS. I'll be forever grateful to Dave and Peter [Wilt] for giving me this tremendous opportunity.
C-F.com: Is there a player with whom you've particularly identified?
GS: I've learned a little bit from everyone. All the guys have been very supportive and constantly encourage me to be better. These guys have played all over the world and I'm honored to be right here with them.
C-F.com: The Fire has more international players this year than in any other in the club's history. There's also a kind of Latin invasion, with two Hondurans, two Costa Ricans and a Brazilian. Does it help to have players with backgrounds similar to yours?
GS: I think it's great, not only that we have lots of foreign players but that we have very talented foreign players. Andy is a great goal scorer, Samuel is an outstanding defender, Ivan is so versatile and Thiago is all-around good player. We used to hang out a lot earlier in the season because we stayed in the same hotel but now Andy and Ivan are with their families and Thiago and Sammy have found homes on the Northside. But it's fun when we're all able to hang out. It feels like we're a family.
C-F.com: What do you miss most about Costa Rica?
GS: My family and the food! My mom and dad and all my family is there. They're coming to Chicago in July and they're bringing everyone ... my brother, my grandmother, my aunt and my little cousins. I'm looking forward to it very much.
C-F.com: Now that you've spent some time here, what do you think of Chicago-the city, the fans, the organization?
GS: It's one of the best organizations in MLS. A good organization has a winning mentality and a genuine desire to win a championship, and that's the Fire's attitude. The fans are unbelievably supportive. With Section 8 and the Ultras, it feels a lot like back home with Saprissa. The fans are so passionate and you can hear them chanting throughout the game-cheering for your team and that's very inspiring.