We sat down with Juan Agudelo, who chose these five questions from a random grab bag. Learn more about his path to soccer and what he has achieved throughout his career.
Q: Why did you choose to play soccer?
A: Soccer was always big for me. Growing up in Colombia, it was the #1 sport. Everyone is very passionate about the sport there. When I came to the States I was surprised at how many sports there were. I was very intrigued and wanted to try all of them out from baseball to basketball to tennis to even roller hockey. I was a big roller hockey player – people would never know that! I eventually slimmed it down to the more serious things and it was either going to be basketball or soccer and I chose one, which was soccer. I just felt that if I was going to do this every day, I would enjoy myself doing more skills soccer-wise and I would enjoy it more every day.
Q: What is the most memorable moment of your soccer career?
A: My most memorable moment was when I was 17 years old and I got a call up to play with the full (U.S.) national team which was very rare for a person that age. There were a lot of emotions, I saw an email and called my mother right away, and I told her and she couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe it, I was double checking to make sure they sent it to the right email address!
And then I flew over with the team and I’m playing with guys that I watched represent their country for years – it was amazing to be a part of that in the training sessions. To be warming up and putting on the jersey was cool. And to just watch the game from ridiculous seats – the bench - was awesome. I didn’t think that I was going to play at all and I was called upon to come in as a sub and that just alone was amazing for me. So for me to be able to score in that game and to help us win the game at 17 years old was a pretty amazing feeling for me.
When Bob Bradley, the coach, waved me over I was like “oh my gosh…” I was looking around behind me to make sure he was actually calling me. I went into the game and there was one play that I was able to get the ball on my thigh and I just dinked it over the goalkeeper and I scored. After that it was just lights out and the video is the only thing that reminded me that I put my hands over my mouth and I just looked like I was shocked, like I couldn’t believe it. CLICK HERE to watch the video!
Q: How do you continually improve yourself as a soccer player?
A: Video is an important key. On Tuesday we go over the video and personally if I feel I need to go over a couple of other things like my positioning because when you see a bigger picture of it, you really recognize where you can be in better positions to get the ball.
Q: What advice do you have for young soccer players who want to become an MLS player one day?
A: Do it because you love it, for one. And two, if it’s your passion in everything, make it your passion. If you’re in the living room and there is a commercial on, you should be playing with the ball because you like playing with the ball. If you need to go to the store, take the ball with you, make it your best friend.
Q: You have a busy schedule, how do you keep yourself motivated and how do you keep it fun?
A: Everyone says it’s a busy schedule but we train in the morning and in the afternoon we have a lot of free time. Motivation has to be natural, if you have a passion for it, it’s natural. You finish training and then if there is a team in Europe that you want to watch play, you watch them ad you learn some things. Also nutrition is important, look out for your nutrition. Another thing I’m big on is to not always focus on the sport because overload can be bad for you. So maybe I’ll play some video games, or maybe I’ll go for a ride in my sweet car (Audi R8, won on Season 3 of Continental Tire’s What’Cha Got).”