Growing up, I dreamed of one day having the opportunity to interview someone big. Whether it would be a professional athlete from any of the major sports that are played worldwide, a singer, an actor/actress, or even the President of the United States. When I was told about the Portland Timbers Reportero Bilingue Program, I got very excited. One of my dreams could possibly come true. I applied and next thing I knew, I was given the opportunity to interview a soccer player from the Portland Timbers.
Having the opportunity to be able to watch the Timbers practice at their training facility, meet their team reporter (who gave us some tips about interviewing), witness several media broadcasters interview head coach Caleb Porter, meet coach Porter himself, and getting a tour of Providence Park was amazing. The main highlight of the day was being able to interview Timbers Forward Gastón "La Gata" Fernández. La Gata is such an amazing guy. The following is an excerpt from the interview:
What attracted you to play the sport of soccer?
"Let’s say that soccer in my country is something that is born inside us. It’s hard to explain but when we are born they put a soccer ball next to us."
If you had the opportunity to play with Messi, how would you react to that opportunity?
"I would enjoy it very much. Not only with Messi though - I always enjoy being with good players in general.”
Would you beat Messi one on one?
* Laughs "It would be hard, but in soccer right now you never know the final result. That’s why soccer is beautiful. It’s not math. Anything can happen."
What would you tell all of those kids who dream of having a soccer career like yours?
"Keep dreaming, and accompany that dream with sacrifices and effort. Have a strong mentality to overcome any obstacle you may encounter."
If soccer didn't exist, what other sport would you play?
"It's a question that I've been asked several times, but it would be very sad for the world if soccer didn't exist, so I do not even want to think about it."
Do you like the city of Portland?
"I love it. Aside from the rain, and the cold, it’s a beautiful city. The city has welcomed us Argentines as well as my other teammates with open arms.
How does it feel being the first Timber to score a goal in the first 34 seconds of a match?
"It's beautiful! It's beautiful to be a small part of history in this club. Hopefully there isn't another player who scores at the 20th second because things may get a little complicated." laughs*
How did you get the nickname "La Gata"?
"Gata came from a coach I had when I was younger. Ha had a son whose name was the same as mine. He gave me his son's nickname too."
Do you play video games?
"I play, but I lose every time because my 7 year old son is now beating me."
Do you guys play FIFA?
"We play FIFA, yes."
Which team do you pick and which team does your son pick when you guys play?
"My son now picks the Timbers... and I keep on changing teams."
After the interview, I got a nice handshake from La Gata. I also got a very nice picture with him, and of course an autograph. Gaston is such an amazing person to talk to and I wish him the best this season with the Timbers, and for the years to come.