Somos Timbers Bilingual Reporter Program: Interview with Darlington Nagbe
The Bilingual Reporter program is designed to encourage Hispanic youth to be proud of their heritage and language. Students are nominated by their teachers and then apply to have the opportunity to interview a Timbers player or a member of the coaching staff. Following the interview, the selected students are required to write a report about the experience in English and Spanish. With a professional interview, the students are able to further develop their bilingual speaking and writing skills while exhibiting a passion for the sport.
Q & A with forward Darlington Nagbe
I conducted an interview with Darlington Nagbe; NCAA MAC Hermann Trophy recipient, two-time NSCAA All American, and starting midfielder for the Portland Timbers, about reaching his many achievements after becoming a pivotal player in his time at the University of Akron. Nagbe, Liberian born, found a love and passion for the game through his father Joe Nagbe, former captain for the Liberian national squad. Having already spent two seasons in MLS and now on his third with the Portland Timbers, Darlington Nagbe has shown limitless effort and unmatched talent with the club which reveals why he is a rising star within the league.
Having idolized the pacey midfielder since his debut with the Timbers, I have always longed to meet Darlington and to strike up a conversation with him. And after being blessed enough to win the Reportero Bilingüe, I finally had my opportunity. Being a dedicated soccer fan; a ball, a field, and a player meant way more to me than the average fan. My curiosity about playing professional soccer can finally be answered. And I had plenty of questions.
When the day of the interview drew nearer and nearer, I found myself super anxious but extremely excited that I would meet my favorite player on the Portland Timbers. Given the opportunity to select somebody to accompany me in this amazing experience, I chose my girlfriend because she’s also crazy about him. It was the obvious choice right? As we approached the complex, we were almost immediately greeted by head coach Caleb Porter, and after meeting such a determined guy, I was shaking with nerves to meet Darlington. We were given the opportunity to watch the boys practice which in itself, completed a lifelong dream. The scene of the passes being given and received, each shot that was taken was truly majestic. And before I knew it, it was time. Darlington Nagbe was ready to be interviewed.
I was more excited than nervous at that time, due to being told that I could perform some freestyle soccer tricks that I do for the club in front of Darlington, as well as Rodney Wallace and Steven Evans which was a true honor. Once I was able to juggle my nerves away, I was finally ready to sit down and ask him some questions.
My first question, was, “How does it feel to play professional soccer, especially for the Portland Timbers?”
I knew that Darlington was a kind person, but after each question I asked, I began to realize how kind-hearted of a person he was. Given such an experience to create a relationship with a player really opened my eyes to see that he’s an ordinary person as well. Although, I’m sure he can dribble circles around me. His character is truly gentle and considerate, making our encounter even more delightful in that he answered all of my questions willingly and with a smile on his face. But, what sincerely made my interview with Darlington special was not a soccer related question, or a fame related question, but more of a personal question.
My final question to him was simple, yet moving in the manner by which he answered it. I asked, “What three words best describe you?” And his response encompassed his character, an aspect of life that isn’t always projected on the field, or on a statistic board, but one-on-one. My admiration towards him grew once he uttered the three words that best described him. Carefully chosen, he responded, “Shy, fun, and humble.”
The experience was absolutely a dream come true. Being able to watch the boys practice, and understand how a professional team functions, being introduced to players many of whom I idolize, and to communicate with my favorite player on the squad will always be the greatest soccer experience of my lifetime.
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