Diego Fagundez's breakout season came in 2013 when he scored 13 goals and added seven assists in his first season as a regular. He was the first Homegrown in New England Revolution history, the first Homegrown field player to log 10,000 minutes in Major League Soccer (MLS) and youngest player to record 100 appearances and 25 goals in league history.
We sat down with Diego ahead of the 2018 MLS season. Read to see what we chatted about when we discussed topics like team camaraderie, Diego’s advice to young soccer players, and why soccer fans are so passionate. We also found out a bit about Diego’s life away from the pitch – and that includes six dogs, yes that’s right, SIX dogs! Since we spoke, he has also welcomed his first child, a daughter, on May 23, 2018.
Q. How important is team camaraderie?
It's very important. You don't want anyone to be down, you want to have everybody happy on the team because then the whole team is doing well so it's very important for everybody.
When days don't go as well as they should, everybody needs to stick together. Sometimes in training, something happens and you just have to keep going with the vibe and make sure everyone is still on the same page. In games, when something doesn't go the right way, you just have to stay positive and make sure that you're helping your teammates to be positive no matter what the outcome is.
Q. What is your advice for young soccer players that want to play in the MLS one day?
A. They always say in the United States that size matters, but for me, no matter what size you are, it doesn't matter. No matter your age or your size it doesn't matter. I was always small and I'm young so as long as you compete with other people and you can outsmart them, anybody can make it into professional soccer. But MLS Cup of course everybody wants to make it there - you just have to work hard and do everything you can to be better than somebody else.
Q. Why do you think soccer fans are so passionate?
A. Soccer is just the best sport I think. We don't stop every two minutes unless there is a foul or something. The game is always rolling so fans really get into it. There are always rivalries, and that is always the fun part. The team’s playing that other team and you always want to beat them. For me, when I play against someone I know, I always want to beat them because then at the end of the day I can say 'hey we beat you guys, what happened?" (laughs)
Q. Who was your soccer role model growing up?
A. My dad was definitely one of my role models because he played professional soccer. I always looked up to him. He always says that I passed him by a lot but at the end of the day, he's the one that led me to where I am now and always pushed me to be better. Even now when we go to the soccer field, he's always trying to make me be a better soccer player or a better person no matter what it is - whether it's on the field or off the field.
Q. What does your training schedule look like?
A. In the off season I like to go hunting, offroading, fishing, things that are away from soccer but at the same time I'm having fun. During the season you train every day, then you go home and either rest or play some FIFA or hang out. I have six dogs so I’m always running behind them, and now I have a baby coming that I’ll be running behind. You're always doing exercises and making sure your body is always recovered for the next day. People say to me "six dogsl?" but the truth is, when I want to relax, my dogs are the ones that keep me company. When you have a bad day, the dogs are there.