This weekend is a big one for New York soccer fans as New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls face off in the NY Derby.
The Red Bull’s Bradley Wright-Phillips is ranked second in scoring with 63 goals since the start of 2015. He will go head to head with New York City FC’s David Villa who ranks first in scoring with 67 goals.
Wright-Phillips is the MLS record-holder for most goals over a four-season span, with 85 from 2014-17.
See what he had to say when we sat down with him at the beginning of the 2018 Major League Soccer season!
Watch the big match up on Saturday at 1:55 PM ET on ESPN.
Who gave you your greatest piece of advice?
Probably my dad. It’s not going to sound great to you, but the role I play on the field is that I have to score goals and he always told me don’t think about scoring. Just think about hitting the target and in my career it has seemed to work out.
How do you keep yourself motivated on the long days and how do you keep it fun?
I don’t think it’s difficult to stay motivated. I play this game because I love it. That’s all I wanted to do so that’s not really a problem. I think just remembering to enjoy the game and it makes it fun. Just trying to improve and test out what you’ve done in training and see if it works in the match. It’s always a nice little task to try to accomplish.
How much motivation does it give you when you hear the passion of the crowd?
It’s good. I think every team – even the best teams - needs a 12th man. When the crowd is fully into the game it can really push you along and really change that one point into three points. The best example I can remember is when we played Kansas City in 2014 – it was a knock out playoff game. Just one game and we went a goal down and the fans really got behind us. We managed to win 2-1 but I just remember that day being very loud and it was a full house. It was so much easier to play under those circumstances.
What about when you’re playing an away game?
I like it when the odds are against us. I think going into a stadium is a feeling of togetherness. It brings you the team together when the whole stadium wants you to lose.
Who was your soccer role model?
It depends on my age. When I was really young it was my dad. He was my hero and he was doing what I wanted to do. I played on my first team when I was six years old – I played for a team in London. It’s a tough schedule and it’s tough to get to all of the games all the time, but when he could come he would come. Whatever he could teach me or advice he could give me, he was always there.
Do you ever play any soccer video games?
I used to play when I was younger – when I was in academy. I played Revolution Soccer and FIFA. But when I played it I wanted to execute how I think I would on the field. I’d want the dude to run this way, and he’s running off the field! Those games frustrate me because I want it to be more realistic.