The Houston Dynamo's top pick from the 2016 Superdraft, Brazilian defender Ivan Magalhães will be playing the 2016 season with RGVFC. After moving to the United States, he attended Eastern Florida State College and then blossomed as a Terrapin at the University of Maryland. I had the chance to talk to Ivan about his upcoming rookie season with the Toros.
Q: When did you move to the United States from Brazil?
Ivan: I moved here in August of 2013. I have played two years for Eastern Florida State College and one year for the University of Maryland
Q: What was the weirdest thing about America when you first moved here?
Ivan: Eating habits! *laughs* The time they have dinner and a few other things that are different in Brazil was kind of weird at first to me, but now I am very used to it.
Q: What do you miss the most about your native country?
Ivan: I miss my family everyday. It is hard to be away from them because we are very connected to each other, so whenever they get the chance they come visit me and watch a few games, they do. I also miss the Brazilian food.
Q: Of all the Brazilian National Team stars, who was your favorite growing up?
Ivan: Ronaldinho at his prime was the best player I have seen. I also loved the original Ronaldo.
Q: Were you surprised when you found out you'd be at RGVFC, instead of Houston, this season?
Ivan: Not really. I knew that it was going to be challenging to be a starter in the first team right away, but I am extremely glad that the club is giving me this opportunity to develop as a professional player at RGV.
Q: How did training with the Dynamo during the preseason help you develop?
Ivan: Being around so many talented players and a magnificent coaching staff helped me realize what I need to develop in order to become a player in MLS in the near future.
Q: What Dynamo player gave you the best advice during training camp?
Ivan: Me and the other Brazilian on the team Alex got along very well during preseason, and he gave me the best advice throughout the camp. He always reminded me to play hard and show how much I wanted to be there, whether it was on 5v2 or on a real game.
Q: RGVFC Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera spent a lot of time in Houston during camp, how excited are you to have him as your manager in your rookie season?
Ivan: Very excited. He is a very respected coach, and I think he is going to be a key component for our success this year as a team and also for our individual development as professional soccer players.
Q: How would you describe your skillset on the pitch? What current pro do you feel you are most similar to?
Ivan: Hardworking defender, left footed, good pace and sense of positioning for the left center back area. Miranda from Inter Milan and Brazilian national team is the player I look up to as a center back.
Q: What part of your game will you try to improve on most this season?
Ivan: My focus for this year is going to be the physical part of the game as well as playing faster, with speed and composure at the same time.
Q: Since you moved down, where's your favorite place to go in Texas? (Other than the training grounds!)
Ivan: I did not really have the chance to get to know the city. I have only been to the movies, the Galleria mall and a few restaurants.