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20 Questions with Matheus Silva

By Hartford Athletic, 07/05/20, 7:00AM EDT

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This edition of 20 Questions is brought to you by our partners at Brignole Vineyards!

Welcome back to 20 Questions: the series where we help you better get to know the players on this year's squad. For previous interviews in this series, we went behind the scenes with Nicky DownsConor McGlynnArthur Rogers,  Danny BarreraMads JørgensenAlex DaveyNoah ParaviciniAiden MesiasMac SteevesKevin PolitzGabriel TorresChenoHarry Swartz and Alex Dixon. This week, we caught up with defender Matheus Silva who shares his passion for cooking, a story about Clint Dempsey, and much more. Enjoy!

1) How did you get into cooking?

MS: I left home at an early age. When you're by yourself, you have to learn how to manage. I had to learn to feed myself, because if I didn't I’d starve. But my mother, she was always the one that inspired me to cook. Not just for the sake of cooking, I see it more as a therapy, if that makes sense. I get my mind away, just focus on cooking. It wasn’t always like that, cooking definitely grew on me. At first, I was always rushing to cook and I never enjoyed it. But as I got older, I started developing more patience. Cooking is one of the things that has helped me continue to develop patience.

2) What is your favorite thing to cook?

MS: Man, I'm such a big food guy, I love everything. I love to eat. But if I had to pick one thing, can't go wrong with fettuccine pasta. It’s easy, quick, and it does the job.

3) There seem to be a lot of different diets on the team. Have you ever given any thought to changing to a vegetarian or vegan diet?

MS: I talk with Nicky a lot about it actually. I’ve yet to make the decision to try eating vegetarian. I don't know I can't see myself not having a steak or chicken, or whatever. But it's something that I’m interested in trying one day.

4) How excited are you to get back to playing actual matches?

MS: It's one of the main things that have been in my head. I'm really pumped up and I hope that we are able to have #FortressHartford with us in the stadium. I have a lot of passion to put out on the field and I’ll speak on behalf of my teammates here, we are all engaged and prepared to fight for the city.

5) How would you describe the season so far?

MS: Definitely one that I have grown the most. Coach Jaïdi has not only helped me, but the whole group as the pandemic started. I chose to look at it the positive way, and having Coach around us, with his experience as well as the experience of the rest of the coaching staff and other players, it has definitely helped me to grow. It's been a positive start and a good preseason. I feel really confident, excited and eager to play.

6) In what ways would you say you've grown?

MS: I’ve definitely taken a leap mentally. Even physically, I’ve learned to better deal with my body and be a better professional. Things like eating better and running by myself when we couldn't practice together. If I want to succeed, I’ve gotta be willing to do what most won't do.

7) You're a young guy but you've played in a lot of different places. How do you like being in Connecticut?

MS: I was speaking to a friend of mine and he asked the same question. Of course these aren’t the best times with a global pandemic and all, but I've enjoyed it. Everyday I'm going outdoors and doing something that gets my mind going. The city has really grown on me and I'm growing with it. I feel really good here. I need to explore more and find more things to do and as the season goes on, meet more people.

8) You mentioned earlier that you left home at an early age. Where is home for you?

MS: It sounds cliche, but home is where the heart is right? I have a lot of family in Brazil, some in Florida, California, everywhere around the country. Everybody that has helped me in my life is family. It's really hard for me to pick one place and say, ‘This is home for me.’ But if I had to pick a place, my immediate family is in Brazil, so that's where I would call home. 

9) Aside from your family, what do you miss most about Brazil?

MS: I’d have to say the food. Anywhere you go, a food market, wherever, they prepare sandwiches, have fruits and vegetables and it’s just amazing. It’s quick, cheap, and it fills you up. It’s dangerous to be honest because sometimes when I go back, I eat so much and I start putting on some weight.

10) Messi or Ronaldo?

MS: Personally, I don't compare players. They both are really good at their own style. If I had to pick one, I would pick Messi. I think he’s so gifted in that…see, now you put me in a position to make it sound like Ronaldo’s not a good player. (laughs) I will say, I like Messi because he's gifted and Ronaldo, he has all my respect, but Messi, he’s left-footed like I am. Maybe that’s why.

11) Let's talk a little bit about your professional career. At just 18 years old, you started for the San Jose Earthquakes. What was that experience like for you?

MS: It was surreal. When I first got there, they had a friendly match set up against Manchester United. I wasn't sure that I was going to play, but I ended up finding out a couple hours before the game that I was going to play. From that moment on, the only thing I could think was “Wow”. As far as my experience at San Jose. I am so thankful for my teammates, my coaches that I had at the time, and the organization itself because I learned so much. I’ve grown into the player I am today because of them.

12) What were your emotions like when you took the field that night?

MS: It was like I was on a cloud. As I stepped on the field, it was real. I used to play with these guys on FIFA you know? I can't even put into words what it was like. I would look into the stands and everything was shiny like I was in the clouds. I gave my all and it was a really good game for me, especially for the first game. It was an experience I'll never forget.

13) Would you say that's the highlight of your professional career?

MS: I would say the highlight of my professional career was when I was on loan to Phoenix Rising, which was also a good experience, because I got a lot of playing time and the coach was definitely a major piece of my development at the time. So I was playing for Phoenix Rising, which at the time was Arizona United, and then San Jose called me back to go play in Seattle against the Sounders. So I went to play and I had a great game against Clint Dempsey. I was just balling out, I was winning tackles, pinging balls around, completing passes, it was a great game. He was talking a lot of trash to me. He was giving me a hard time, but I knew at that moment I was capable of anything.

14) What are your personal goals for this season?

MS: Keep improving with my teammates and definitely go far in the playoffs. I want to get a lot of clean sheets, help my teammates out, and go for the trophy.

15) You had a life threatening experience when you were playing in Reno, would you mind sharing that?

MS: I don't remember a lot of the accident. I definitely know now what happened, but it's more of what people have told me. Previous to the accident and what I can tell to whoever is reading this, I was in a mind state where I was blinded mentally. I wasn't thankful for what I had and my attitude and the decisions I made were very negative. They say when you give off bad energy, you attract bad energy and bad situations. And I put myself in a bad situation. I do not remember why I went into the lake. I'm a good swimmer and we went to the beach, and we started swimming. Apparently my body went into shock, and I drowned. We got to the beach very early that day and there were very few people at the beach. Out of nowhere, these two paddle borders, they saw me. People thought I was joking, and I wasn't joking. They realized I was drowning and pulled me out of the water. So they took me out of the water, but nobody knew how to do CPR, and out of nowhere, this veteran, his name is John Burke, I'll never forget his name or face or the names and faces of anybody that was involved, and he knew how to do CPR. But like for the longest time he couldn't get me back and close to when the helicopter was coming, they were able to bring me back. In my mind, there is somebody up there and somebody that looks out for all of us. He definitely gave me a second chance, but also something to think of. At times we are so blind, as I said, and we don't see all that we have. That's what I take from the experience, being able to be thankful, even when it’s so hard, because there are times where it's hard for us to be thankful, but that's what I take from it. Be grateful and be thankful for the people around you. 

16) If you won the lottery what would be the first thing you'd buy?

MS: It sounds cliche but I want to help people. I would try to find a way to help people no matter your size, color, whatever, just help people. I also would like to buy a house for my mother, just how she likes it. I know she doesn't want anything big, but she's very creative and you know she's got these crazy ideas, and I’d just really like to buy my mama a house.

17) What's a TV show or movie you've watched during quarantine that you would recommend to our readers? 

MS: Ozark is one, and a show called Top Boy on Netflix. Honestly, I would rather read than watch shows. Right now, I’m reading The Alchemist, it's a good book. The writer is a Brazilian writer and the story is about a guy that is out on his journey and there's all these different things that happen. They lead you to what he calls your personal legend. Your personal legend is what you want in your life, but there's always going to be things that will take you away from it. It's a good book, I've read it before. My mother always said that once you read the book, you should read it again in the future because you will find different things.

18) What's something you've learned this year that surprised you?

MS: How resilient I am. Personally, I’ve battled with my mind you know? Sometimes it feels like it got the best of me, but most of the time I’m always being positive. Going through this quarantine and being able to grow from it shows how resilient I am. I got upset when the quarantine started because you know I have prepared so well during the offseason and things were going the way I wanted. I got upset for a little bit, but then I was able to turn things around.

19) What does a typical off day look like for you?

MS: I like to kick back and relax. I wouldn't say chilling, because I don't like to use that word, but I’m either at home, or doing outdoors stuff. There is a trail on the back street where we live right now. It's a beautiful trail, I like to go there, sit on the bench, and just kick back and admire the view.

20) What is a fun fact about you that most fans don't know?

MS: I used to do Capoeira when I was young. For those who don’t know, Capoeira is, I wouldn't say a fight, but it’s an activity that gives you a lot of flexibility. I used to do it when I was young and I could do all these crazy tricks. I learned how to do a backflip. I gotta practice and get back into it.

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