Athlete Spotlight: Pittsfield's Patrick Silva
The Pittsfield boys soccer team is in the middle of a busy stretch of the season. The Generals (10-1-2 on the year) recorded wins over Lenox and Taconic on Friday and Saturday, respectively, and are hosting Ludlow Monday before playing Longmeadow and Hoosac Valley later in the week. That didn't stop center back Patrick Silva from stopping in at The Eagle on Sunday afternoon to chat for our Athlete Spotlight series. Silva, originally from Brazil, is helping guide a PHS defense that has given up just 10 goals this season. Silva talked about moving to the states from Brazil, what this year's Generals team is like, and what plans are in store as graduation comes into the picture.
BERKSHIRE EAGLE: Start first; when did you start playing soccer?
PATRICK SILVA: I first started playing soccer when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I've been playing ever since then.
EAGLE: What is it about soccer that you enjoy?
SILVA: I really love the sport because I've been playing since I was young. I'm from Brazil. In Brazil, everyone plays soccer all the time.
EAGLE: Talk to me a little bit about Brazil. When did you come here?
SILVA: I came here four years ago, because my parents were here and they wanted me to be with them. When I first got here, I didn't know English or anything like that. It was kind of hard at first when I joined the soccer team. Because I didn't know how to communicate, how to interact with the people on the team. Freshman year, it was hard, because I didn't know how to communicate with people. Sophomore year, it was a little bit easier because I had been here for a year already so I knew some words to communicate with them. Junior year, that's when everything got a little bit more serious, because I knew how to talk to them, I was used to it. After that, it was way more easy for me. When I got here, I had no friends, nothing like that.
EAGLE: Where are you from in Brazil?
SILVA: I'm from Minas Gerais.
EAGLE: Where is that in relation to the map of Brazil?
SILVA: It's like right — how am I going to explain this to you? It's like right near Rio [de Janeiro] and Belo Horizonte.
EAGLE: What is your favorite team? Who is the team you support?
SILVA: In Brazil?
EAGLE: Anywhere, really.
SILVA: In Brazil, my favorite team was Corinthians. I also like Real Madrid a lot.
EAGLE: Who is your favorite Brazilian soccer player?
SILVA: I would say two of them: Pele and Neymar. Those are my two top players.
EAGLE: What's the most memorable goal you've ever scored?
SILVA: I still remember. It was back in Brazil, a month before I came here. We were in a tournament, and we were tied 2-2 and had three minutes left. I went up for a corner kick, and I ended up scoring off of a head ball and we won the finals. It was pretty cool.
EAGLE: You marshal the defense for Pittsfield. What's the key to being a good defender and being able to organize a good defensive unit?
SILVA: To be a good defender, you also have to have good teammates. Ones that support you, and that are there to fix your mistake. To play for PHS is pretty easy, because our defensive line and all of our other players, they are right there at the right moment to help you out when you make a mistake, and not let you down.
EAGLE: How important is communication for you guys? How important is it for you guys to be communicating with each other in order to try and limit what the other teams do?
SILVA: Communication is key on the team, because maybe you have the ball and don't know what's going on, you always have to be talking to your teammates and let them know what's going on. For me, back like three or four years ago, it was hard because I didn't know what was going on. Right now, it's easier for me, because I can communicate with them and I can understand what they are saying to me. I always make sure I'm talking, saying the right words at the right moment.
EAGLE: How much confidence does the offensive unit give to you in the back? Do you get a lot of confidence doing what you do, knowing what those guys are doing in attack?
SILVA: We all need each other, because defense needs offense and offense needs the defense. We all trust each other. In order to be successful on the field, we all have to trust each other. Even if you see that a player just made a mistake, you don't have to yell at them and say they did something wrong. ... We're always looking for the nicest ways to talk to them and making sure we are supporting them, because we all make mistakes. ... We also, in the back, are supporting the ones that are trying to score.
EAGLE: What have been some of the keys to your guys' success so far this year?
SILVA: Play as a team, because for us, it's really important to play as a team. One single player can't control the whole thing. We always try to play as a team and make sure everyone is doing what they are supposed to do.
EAGLE: What's your favorite place to go play around here?
SILVA: I get real excited when we play Lenox, because that's coach [Andrew Antil's] favorite game every year. We all like to play them, we like to play Lenox.
EAGLE: You guys have gotten a new experience this year being able to play at Berkshire Community College on the turf field there; what's the difference between playing on turf and playing on grass?
SILVA: It depends on how you play. If you play a lot of long balls, it's hard because the ball can easily go out of bounds. ... For me, I don't really see any difference. I usually play on turf and grass, so for me it's almost the same thing.
EAGLE: Shifting away from soccer, what is your favorite thing to do outside of soccer?
SILVA: I usually hang out with friends. Yeah, that's it.
EAGLE: What is your favorite subject in school?
SILVA: I feel like English would be my favorite, because I struggled so much when I first got here that right now, I kind of like it.
EAGLE: What's the plan for after graduation? Have you started thinking of that yet?
SILVA: Not really. I mean, I want to go to college and play in college at a competitive level. But right now, I'm not so sure what I want to do. I'm still thinking about it, I want to do the right thing.
EAGLE: Finally, I have to get your opinion: what was it like coming up and experiencing a New England winter for the first time:
SILVA: It was hard, because when I got here it was January. It was cold, I had no friends, all I did was stay home and talk to my parents the whole time. It was kind of hard. But then I met Mr. Whalen, who used to play soccer, I played soccer with his son. Then I started playing at The Fieldhouse [in Canaan, N.Y.], and I didn't know what was going on, but I was still playing with them. That's how I started playing for PHS.
This interview was conducted, edited and condensed by Geoff Smith.
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