Last week, Memo Rodriguez and Taylor Hunter were waived by the Houston Dynamo, then signed contracts with their USL hybrid affiliate RGVFC Toros immediately after. I had the pleasure of covering Memo last year while he was on loan with the Charleston Battery, whose staff and players raved about Rodriguez's motor on the field and natural gifted passing. This week, I chatted with my 2015 partner in crime about his move to Rio Grande Valley, his development on the pitch, and perhaps most importantly, another year of he and I together!
Q: Were you surprised with being told you'd be joining Rio Grande Valley FC for this season?
Memo: I kind of figured I would come down here at some point this season anyway, so not really.
Q: How did preseason with the Dynamo help you prepare for this season?
Memo: I think training with the Dynamo prepared me mentally and physically. I was in a competing environment day in and day out at Houston's camp, so ill be ready to perform this season.
Q: Who gave you the best advice during your preseason with Houston?
Memo: I think Giles Barnes did. I remember one training session he told me,"You have to show what you've got this year since you were on loan last year and you don't want that this year because I know you have talent." Even though I'm here in Rio Grande Valley, I'll take that as a positive because people can see my hard work that I put in. So, I'm 100% committed to this team and ready to play a big role on this team and make a special season for me and the Toros.
Q: Even though the roster isn't set and will be fluid during the season due to Houston loanees, how do you think the current talent level will match up with against USL teams?
Memo: Well I think everybody is looking to get a spot on the starting 11 and everybody at practice has something to prove, so that makes everybody keep the level high because everyone wants a chance to play. I think if we keep training hard and keep the process going, we'll be a tough team to compete against.
Q: Two players who are set on the Toros roster are fellow Dynamo Academy alums Christian Lucatero and Juan "Charly" Flores. How exciting will it be to join up with them?
Memo: I think it'll be a great experience for all 3 of us. I guess I can take them under my wing and help them on and off the field. We all know we have a bit work to do but I know we are up for the challenge and willing to put in the work.
Q: Having played in the USL with the Charleston Battery last year, how successful of a season do you think you can have personally?
Memo: I think I'll be a little more experienced than last year, I think I have to play a big role on this team. I put in a lot of hard work this off season and I don't want that to go to waste. I'll continue working hard and becoming a better player everyday and learn new things.
Q: You mentioned playing a big role on RGVFC, do you see yourself falling into a leadership role?
Memo: I think I do have to step up as a leader this year, but I also think if the whole team takes on that role, we'll have success along the road.
Q: What parts of your play on the field will you concentrate on improving the most for a future in the MLS?
Memo: I think this season and this next off season, I'll work 10 times harder on my physical part of my game without a doubt until I reach my goal. I need to be calm and be clean with the ball when I'm under pressure. Also, I need to communicate a little bit better to make my teammates job a little be easier. I think I can go to MLS and continue to develop.
Q: When did you start going by Memo?
Memo: Well, ever since I was a baby. It's just short for my middle name Guillermo but everyone that knows me calls me Memo, not by my first name Jose.
Q: Last question. Since this will be our second season together on the USL side of things, do you prefer The Memo & Carson Show, The Carson and Memo Show or do you have a better idea?
Memo: The Memo And Carson Show Part 2. *laughs*