Saturday, February 27, 2010

Interview with J.P. Rodrigues

A Florida product John Paul Rodrigues was born and raised in Tampa and the surrounding area. His hometown is Lutz or Land O' Lakes which is 20-25 minutes outside of Tampa. He started playing soccer at 6 when he played for his first team and continued playing youth soccer. He was a scoring machine playing Center Midfielder and Striker/Forward.

J.P. went to Land O' Lakes High School where he was a starter on the varsity team for all 4 years. His junior year he went from 5'-6" to 6'-1". This did not go unnoticed as he started playing on the back line as a Central Defender/Sweeper. Twice during high school his team reached the Final Four. His freshman year they lost in the State Finals to Fort Myers by a 3-1 score. His sophmore year St. Thomas defeated them on penalty kicks in the State Semi-Finals.
J.P. went to Nashville,Tennessee where he attended college at Belmont University where he was recruited to play Defensive Midfielder. A week or two into his freshman year he was switched to Central Defender/Sweeper for the Bruins. In 2005 he was named Defensive Player of the Year and all-conference first team. Upon completion of college he remained in Nashville playing for the Nashville Metros in the PDL.
In 2006 Miami FC's inaugural season J.P. became the first player drafted with the #1 overall pick. He also received the 1st of his 9 caps with the Guyana National Team. A solid defender and a fan favorite he anchored the defense for the better part of 3 years.
Upon leaving Miami he played for the Orlando Sharks of the Major Indoor Soccer League for the 2007-2008 season. He was awarded a spot on the MISL All Rookie Team as he played 25 games with 30 points and 31 blocks. In 2008-2009 he played for the Milwaukee Wave of the Xtreme Soccer League posting 24 points and 17 blocks as his team went 10-10.
J.P. is currently playing for the Milwaukee Wave who returned to the MISL. They are finishing up the 2009-2010 season where they are in first place with a 9-6 record.

Robert Scorca (RS): Who introduced you to soccer?
JP Rodrigues (JP): My Father, we both share a strong love for the game!

RS: From a soccer standpoint who was most instrumental in your career?
JP: Two people... My father as he has always believed in my ability as a player and has always helped me pursue the dream of playing at a pro level. The other would be my High School Coach Mark Pearson as he pretty much made me the player I am today.

RS: Was there a player or players that you looked up to while growing up?

JP: I was always a big fan of Thiery Henry growing up!

RS: Were you a fan of the Tampa Bay Mutiny?
JP: Yes. I was a ball boy for the Mutiny for like 3 years growing up!

RS: What was it like in 2006 Miami FC's inaugural season, playing with Romario, Zinho and Mario Rodriguez?
JP: It was a great experience to play with such high profile players! Especially as a rookie, Its a pretty cool way to start out your career! I learned a lot from each of those guys!

RS: After leaving Miami FC you played indoor soccer for the Orlando Sharks and the Milwaukee Wave. Which do you prefer and why?
JP: I just love to play the game of soccer! Indoor is a bit more exciting for me as a defender because I am able to really get forward and score some goals were as outdoor my main concern is to defend!

RS: What is the biggest misconception people have of indoor soccer?
JP: I think the main thing that people don't understand about indoor is that the players are very talented! If you take the time to come watch a pro indoor game you will see the talent that some of the teams have. Our team here in Milwaukee is full of very good players, both indoor and outdoor!

RS: In 2009 your teammate Marco Terminesi and you were voted "Hottest Man Alive". Being a straight shooter I would have trouble answering this question, so for the female fans out there who is Hotter, Marco or J.P.? (See Picture to the right)
JP: Marco because he is Canadian!

RS: With Tampa Bay having a club close to home was it hard to decide whether to return to Miami or Tampa?
JP: Yes and no... I have always dreamed of playing back in my home town in front of my friends and family... But Miami wanted me to come back and play and I want to play where I am wanted and respected as a player. The club in Miami believes in me and for that I am happy to be back.

RS: As a defender who is the player that presents your biggest challenge?
JP: Every player I play against presents a challenge but none more than another. I respect everyone I play against and know that we are all professionals and anyone on any given day can be a tough opponent.

RS: How does it feel to be back with Miami FC? What was your biggest factor on returning here?
JP: It feels great... I am back where I began my career. I have played some of my best soccer in Miami FC colors! When I spoke to the coach and GM over the phone and they said they would like to have me return I was very excited and felt like I have unfinished business here!

RS: What is one thing people might be surprised to know about you?
JP: I love cats and have 2 of them!

RS: What was your biggest soccer moment?
JP: Probably receiving the Motorola Man of the Match award for Guyana when we played Cuba to a 0-0 tie in Gold Cup Qualifying. It was my 6th cap with the national team. Its an amazing feeling to step on the field and know you are representing a whole country!

RS: Any words of advice to youngsters who are starting out playing this game?
JP: Three things: Never say never! Hard work alone will get you very far! If you believe it... It will happen!

RS: Is there anyone you would like to thank or acknowledge?

JP: I would like to thank God for blessing me with my talents and for allowing me to do what I love! I would also like to thank my girlfriend Brittany Hipps who means the world to me! Without her support and help I would not be returning to Miami FC.

RS: In closing is there anything you would like to say to the Miami FC fans?
JP: I am glad to be back... And it is time that Miami F.C. gets back to the playoffs! Vamos Miami!

Check out JP's goal at 1:30 minutes


Anonymous said...

Fans against the name change.Uncle
Ed please foward to Miami FC people.

Don't call your self Ft. Lauderdale Strikers that will turn off the Miami soccer fans.

Anonymous said...

Miami FC you want a fan war you got one. See what you did MiamiFC.

Anonymous said...

Uncle Ed help. Miami FC should not change the name to Ft. Lauderdale Strikers.