On Thursday the Colorado Rapids officially announced the signing of Brazilian forward and former La Liga player Luis Eduardo Schmidt, better known as Edu. Here are Five Questions for the new Rapids players:
ColoradoRapids.com: Why the decision to come to Major League Soccer as opposed to staying in Brazil or another League?
Edu: "I think football in the United States continues to grow and is something different, within what I was looking for. As well, the opportunity to learn English, but more than anything, because the American league is growing a lot and I very much want to learn something new. I know the football in Europe, and in Brazil, and the opportuniy of playing in the United States is really nice for me."
ColoradoRapids.com: You paid your way to come on trail with the Rapids in March. Did those two weeks here help you in deciding that this was what you wanted?
Edu: "Yes, a lot. I think returning now, already knowing my teammates, the coach, people at the club, how things are done, the facilities - I think it makes everything much easier. It's very different than arriving to a place and not knowing anything. I'm coming back understanding a bit about how everything works."
ColoradoRapids.com: What other opportunities were presented to you?
Edu: "From the beginning of the year I've been receiving offers from teams in Brazil, but along with my family we didn't see any that interested us much, so we decided to wait a little longer. We made the decision to wait, knowing we were running the risk of nothing arrising that would be enticing. The more time I was inactive, the worse it could get. But the opportunity to come here was presented, and now I'm hoping to be playing as soon as possible, which is what I want most."
ColoradoRapids.com: What can you bring to this team?
Edu: "First, I need to be well physically. I think when I'm physically ready, I know my capabilities and don't have any doubts about those. Experience - I think at 33 years old I've gained a lot of experience. I have a lot of games on back.
But as I said earlier, the United States is something new for me. A new league, and it's clear that the players that have been here some time will teach me a lot as well, and I want to learn. Despite being 33, and having played a lot of games, it's a new league and for sure I'll be able to learn a lot."
ColoradoRapids.com: What is your physical condition at the moment?
Edu: "Good. The 15 days that I was here previously were really good, perhaps better than even I expect since I had not been playing. However, obviously I won't be at the same level physically as those that have been training or playing regulary. That's why I need some time to get in position to compete.
When you compete at a high level, and you're not well physically, you run the risk of, first, not playing like you can, and second, to get injured. That would be worse, because you could be out longer. So it's important to be fit, be patience, and to prepare well so when the opportunity to play comes I can be mentally and physically ready to be able to compete without any problems."
ColoradoRapids.com: There are other former La Liga players in MLS. Has their time playing here helped you understand more about MLS?
Edu: "I've played against David Beckham, Thierry Henry, and Rafa Marquez. I've lost and won against them and have had good experiences against them. The last game I played against Thierry Henry, we were losing 2-0 at home, and then came back to win 3-2 with me scoring two goals. It was a game that for me will be unforgetable. It was in 2008 in La Liga, Barcelona was fighting for the title against Real Madrid, and we beat Barcelona at home and took away their opportunity of winning La Liga. So it is an unforgettable game for me. WATCH: FULL HIGHLIGHTS OF THAT MATCH
But, we're talking about great players that have played at a very high level and are still showing that they are in great shape and have a lot to give. They've had that time to adapt and play on top teams that have won and have challenged for the title. The fact that players like them are playing in the American league only validates the league even more, and I hope that more players of their caliber come to the United States."