In this week’s 5Q, we ask midfielder Aria Shahmirzadi how he’s able to bring his previous experience coaching college soccer (Sierra Nevada College, Lake Tahoe Community College and Folsom Lake Community College) onto the pitch for the Pumas, what he thinks the strength of the team is going to be and how he developed his passion for mixed martial arts.
1, With your coaching experience, are you able to bring that into play as a player in games at all?
That’s what i think Liviu (head coach Liviu Bird) has kind of brought me in to do because of my playing and coaching experience, to be that coach on the field. That’s something I want to do, but it’s still a process because you still have to gain the trust of the players. It’s something you’ve got to grow with the time and get their respect and then start adapting, as I’ve learned through coaching, adapting to the team.
2, What do you think of the team so far?
So far, i think the attitude of getting together and working together is good. Everyone is on the same page, I think, of where we want to go and how we want to get there and willing to make sacrifices to get there. So I think that part’s good as far as attitude. Technically, I think we can play. There’s no reason we can’t compete at a high level, but we have to be on the same page.
3, A month from now, what are we going to be saying the strength of this team is?
I would say our unity — as far as tactically, we play together. So i would say that will be our strength. We play together, we don’t play individually.
4, What do you hope to bring to the team this season?
Personally, obviously my experience, my coaching experience. Individually, I think i can bring more of a dynamic, keeping it simple throughout the midfield. Some players try to complicate things sometimes. I keep it simple.
5, You’re really big into MMA (mixed martial arts). Where does that come from?
I actually start training when I was 17. I wrestled a little bit in high school. But i just like training and being physical and aggressive growing up. It was just a way to express my — it was an outlet for my aggression. And I learned a lot, got stronger, really enjoyed it.
5a, Do you have a favorite fighter?
Not necessarily a favorite fighter, but I trained, the first gym i trained at was Urijah Faber’s gym. So he was the first professional fighter I knew. But then Jaime Jara’s another guy I trained with at Team Carnage. He’s really good. Ju-jitsu, he’s surprisingly good at ju-jitsu. A lot of cool guys in the industry in Sacramento.
— By Rob Shore