FC Dallas' Bressan on life in MLS and why more Brazilians could come to the league

Bressan - FC Dallas - Dribbling

In terms of Brazilian imports who have made their mark in MLS, there's no shortage of players to choose from.

Paulo Nagamura, Felipe and Juninho all come to mind as immediate candidates for the shortlist of the best Brazilians to ever grace the league. And that's not to mention the great Kaká, or former D.C. United forward Luciano Emilio, who became the only one of his countrymen to take home the league's MVP award when he won the Golden Boot after scoring 20 goals in 2007.

It's a trend that seems to be continuing, with the Seattle Sounders making talented midfielder Joao Paulo their top acquisition of the most recent offseason and defensive midfielder Thiago Santos joining center back Bressan at FC Dallas as two recent examples. For Bressan, who joined reporters for a video call on Tuesday, the impetus behind his move to Dallas was communication he had with former FCD fullback Marquinhos Pedroso, who he had played with in Brazil.

After picking Pedroso's brain about the league and city, Bressan said he was convinced the league was a logical next step in his career, adding that there was a bit of role reversal when Santos contacted him with similar questions before signing with FC Dallas ahead of the 2020 season.

"I think that is because the league is growing," Bressan said. "The games are a high level and of course when a player comes to the US, like when Thiago went, he asked me about the soccer in the US and the league. It’s a really good league to compete. The country, to live, it’s really good, the people. Soccer in Brazil, it’s our love, but in the US people are watching more than before."

For Bressan individually, his 2019 debut MLS campaign was a solid one for FC Dallas, starting 12 out of his 18 appearances, playing 1,119 minutes and picking up a goal and an assist. The 27-year-old said on Tuesday that he's been feeling increasingly comfortable in his new country, in part due to logging many hours studying and honing his English. 

Hopes that the 2020 season would mark another step forward in his assimilation to the league were put on hold due to the league's postponement, but Bressan said once play resumes, he feels as though he'll be able to become more impactful.

"[2019] was amazing for me, my first year in MLS and in the US," Bressan said. "It’s a really good team to play for and a really beautiful city to live. The league is different than I was playing in Brazil, so I’m trying to improve myself to do my best for the team and I think that this year maybe I could do more things because now I can speak with the guys in the locker room, so for me it’s really important because soccer isn’t about just playing but you have to be friends with [your teammates] so I’m trying to improve myself to do my best.

"It’s a little bit different, in the US the game is maybe more physical and faster," he added. "In Brazil, the game is slower, but maybe a little bit more technical. But the thing for me that’s changing in MLS, there are a lot of players that come here, and the American players that are really good. I think the league in maybe 2-3 years could be up with the European leagues for me because it’s a really good league to play in."

As for what he's doing in quarantine, Bressan said his life just became a lot busier as he and his wife welcomed their first daughter to the family four days ago and that he's been keeping in contact with his friends back in Brazil, which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.

"It’s a tough situation, not just in the US but in Brazil also, there are a lot of cases there." he said. "It’s complicated because my wife was pregnant and now my baby was born four days ago. We’re really happy but it’s a situation where you have to be careful and try to do our best to keep my family safe and of course my friends back in Brazil."