"Our parents moved here to achieve the American Dream and offer us better lives. Opportunity. We are a team full of blue collar work ethic."
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Good morning readers of AP, the greatest non league soccer blog in the US! Totally kidding on that one, but it sounded fun. Today's interview is a little different then the others. Jason Rego is not only involved with Providence City FC on the brand and website side, but he's a player as well. That means we dive into what's it like to be a player. Diet, recuperation, training, even pump up music. Check it out.
Who you are, where you're from, and what your role is with Providence City FC.
My name is Jason Rego. We are a hybrid of former Rhode Island champions East Providence Sports and AC Milan, a local Rhode Island indoor team that has been playing together. Our coaches come from Challenger Sports. Every coach is from the UK between England, Wales, and Scotland. Tristan is our president who got us together last year. He played for all three of those teams.
We all live in Rhode Island now or South Eastern Massachusetts. Our home field is in Providence, Rhode Island, at Brown University. Our main team plays in the BSSL - Bay State Soccer League. Most teams are from the greater Boston area besides us. Our B team much lower level of play from the A plays in RI, the B team is still a work in progress.
Most of our guys played at a high level. Between D1, and D2 for the most part. Some D3
We have a ton of guys originally from Colombia, 1 guy from Mexico, 1 guy from Puerto Rico, 3 guys from Cape Verde, the 6 or 7 guys from the UK. I am of Portuguese descent. My parents are from Portugal. I am the young gun of the team. Youngest guy at the age of 23. I am the treasurer and marketer (brand ambassador, blogger, and social media guy)
We recently teamed up with a local organization known as Project Goal who helps inner city children with academics and soccer. They are a fully funded program. We were able to run a fundraiser for them and raise money this past weekend.
How did you come to be involved with soccer in general, and Providence City in particular?
My parents are Portugal, specifically my dad is from Northern Portugal around the region of FC Porto. Luckily growing up I was able to watch the golden of era of Porto winning year after year. The winning culture sucked me up I was lucky enough to witness Mourinho coach Porto to win every trophy possible by a club in his 03-04 reign. Every domestic Portuguese title, Europa Cup, Champions League, and the World Club Cup. That culture sucked me in immediately and made me love the sport.
I met our club President, Tristan Lewis (who is from Wales) playing for a dominant Rhode Island team known as East Providence Sports when I was 16 and played with them for 4 years. We were very successful. He was just a player of that team, our coach got married so the team fell apart because he no longer had time for the team.
After a year or two lull Tristan contacted me saying he wanted to start a team back up. We originally joined the RI (Rhode Island) league but felt it was limiting, and decided the Massachusetts league was the route to go for competition. So now our A team resides in the Massachusetts league even though our home field is in Providence. And our B team plays in the Rhode Island league.
Interesting. I take it the soccer scene in Rhode Island is a little less vibrant then, or is it just more limited because of the states size?
Yes 100%. It has talent but the problem is the drop off. The population for Boston is much higher, also the city attracts people to the area for work so it is filled with talent from the many colleges around the area. This creates a consistency of competition across every level in and around the Boston area.
Doesn't seem like that disparity has kept you from assembling a solid group of guys for Providence City though.
Not at all. Most of our guys are between 28-32. We were lucky to assemble this great group of guys who all played at a quality level. One of the biggest attractions besides winning for keeping the guys together is the off field festivities. We hang out off the field, time and time again having plenty of fun.
Sounds like Leicester City. Trying to make more of a family feel, rather than just a sports team.
100%, we train and play like any other soccer team. But we constantly meet up to watch other matches, we pub crawl in the city of Providence together, or even help each other in need.
That's what it takes to have a true team. You guys just started playing in Division 3 of the Bay State Soccer League this past spring. What did you learn from that experience?
It has been an awesome experience. We noticed that our two strong points are ball movement and everyone's blue collar work ethic. Everyone defends when we lose the ball. We will continue to gain organization as we play more. We are a possession team who also wants the ball on the ground and constantly moving. We play out of the back, and trust every guy with the ball at their feet, even the keeper.
Hopefully playing that way will work out for you. We need more teams playing with the ball at their feet. Is there any way for you guys to move up higher in the BSSL divisions?
Yes, we are two games behind. We will be making those up if we win we will be 2 points behind first place which is what we are shooting for. Taking each game by game striving to win out. We lost one game 1-0.
Groton House in our division played in every division already. After defeating them they told us our squad is a high Division 2, Middle of the pack Division 1 team at the moment.
Does finishing second get you promotion to A higher division?
We would then have to play in a playoff match against the second place team from Division 3N. We are in D3 South.
Alright, so the winners and second place finishers of D3 North and D3 South play each other, winners get promoted?
Yes, first place automatically moves up.
Very nice. How does that impact your training and preparation for games? Or does it even have an impact?
Definitely upping the intensity of fitness. Now we know what to expect.
Before we started the interview proper, you were talking about training. Walk me through what a normal day of training is like for you as a player.
We start with juggling and guys getting ready talking about what's going on.
-Dynamic warm up or jog
-Partner ball skills drills high intensity to start sweating
-Tabata run (20sec on 10sec off for 4 min at 75% intensity)
-plyometric drills (double leg, single leg) with mini hurdles focus on explosiveness then injury prevention.
-add some ladders with 10m sprints (just a few)
- depending on week add suicides or cone sprints with different distances
-small sided games 3v3 or 4v4
During the week I have a basement gym known as 'The Dungeon' and guys are always welcomed to join me in strength and conditioning during the week.
Do you have anything you do to help out with recovery, like special meals or a particular diet, even supplements?
No special meals. I personally take supplements for recovery but nobody else on the team does.
I do a ton of balance, mobility work, and recovery work, and Eddie Baptista will usually join me. He is the guy who helps me with social media. He is helping expand the brand also.
Awesome. Come game day, what do you like to do to get prepared? Do you listen to particular music, spend time alone?
My alone time is the drive to the game I'll usually do some Wim Hof the Iceman style breathing then usually get a little bit of caffeine in before the game. Usually a small cold brew black or something else with some caffeine. Start off do a team warm up then when we break off with my headphones in.
Any favorite pre-game music?
Changes depending on mood and season. It ranges from House music, to U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Sabbath, even some recent pop hits like Fifth Harmony - Work
U2 is never a bad choice. I actually own almost all of their CDs. Back to the team as a whole. What was the biggest failure you've experienced this season, and how have you learned from it?
Tying United Nations. We took them lightly, figured we were going to score. Eventually we hit the post 3 times and our goalie made a PK save. Ended 0-0. That humbled us and we will make sure to never take any team lightly in the league again.
And that tie is also part of why you need to win out to finish second. What's been the biggest success of your season so far?
Yes. Biggest success was the first win of the season, against a strong side known as Mass Young Gunners. We did not prepare at all and were able to play good ball.
Sometimes you get lucky. Where are you guys hoping the team will be in 5 years?
D1 BSSL. Win an amateur cup or Massachusetts Cup. Start a youth camp or academy. Continue giving back to the community. Hopefully a guy or two make it to the next level as a semi professional soccer player
How would you guys hope to do something like youth academy?
We would start with summer camps next year. Get a core group. See the main age group we get. Then coach from there. We currently have a team full of guys who coach for other premier clubs.
What is it like playing on a team full of coaches? Does that get to be confusing at all, or are you pretty well in sync once you get on the field?
Relatively easy. Everyone plays their role and accepts it. Everyone wants the ball to move and let the ball do the work.
More technique than running around from the sounds of it. How would you describe the current soccer scene in Rhode Island, for all age groups?
There is a great divide between the wealthy individuals with kids constantly attending camps who are fortunate and can play for expensive clubs because they can afford it. Then there are raw talent kids from the inner cities who unfortunately don't get high level coaching because they cannot afford it.
Is that a void you would hope to fill with a Providence City academy and or youth camps?
Yes, and one of the major reasons we sought out fundraising for Project Goal (Rhode Island) and plan on teaming up with them in the long term.
What exactly is Project Goal?
Project GOAL (Greater Opportunity for Athletes to Learn), non-profit organization, is compromised of education, business, and sports professionals whose mission is to facilitate the development of Rhode Island's disadvantaged youth through after school tutoring and soccer related programs. Check them out at projectgoal.com.
Very cool. Those kind of organizations are invaluable. I had never really thought of there being much of a disadvantaged community in Rhode Island, but it sounds like there's actually quite a sizable community there. Is that a correct assumption?
There is a large immigrant community. Many guys are the team are not US born or if they are US born like myself, we are first generation. Our parents moved here to achieve the American Dream and offer us better lives. Opportunity. We are team full of blue collar work ethic.
What are some ways to reach out to the immigrant community that you've found to be successful?
Through the game of soccer. And food, Providence is filled with successful restaurants of different cultures.
So if you had a community soccer game followed by meal, that would draw you a crowd?
Definitely. To be honest just a free game alone does.
Can't beat free games. Ready for some more rapid fire questions to wrap things up?
What is your favorite league and/or team to watch?
League - British Premier League
Team - FC Porto
Favorite players, one past, one present.
Ricardo Carvalho, Quaresma.
Favorite book, soccer related or otherwise, that you would recommend?
The One Thing and Becoming the Iceman by Wim Hof. Not for its writing but for the teachings of breathing techniques and cold immersion.
Would you rather go to a World Cup or the Euros?
This past year Euros because Portugal won. But the World Cup overall.
I'll give you a chance to make a closing statement. What would you like to say to the people reading this about why they should go out and support the lower levels of American Soccer?
The time is now. We need to take responsibility to continue spreading the culture of soccer/futbol through this great country. The movement has started and we need to keep it going. We start at the youth levels to compete at the world stage, and we need to prove that we can compete.
Jason, thanks again for taking the time to do this interview, I really appreciate it. Remember, if you are enjoying the content I'm putting out, I'd encourage you to click here to Follow me on Twitter, or here to Like the page on Facebook. And if you'd like to read these interviews before everyone else, and make sure you aren't missing anything, click here and sign up for the newsletter. You'll be the first to know when articles are released and learn about other exciting content down the road. Make sure to spread the word by sharing these interviews, telling friends about the blog, those kind of things. I can't accomplish my goal of maximum exposure for all levels of the American Soccer Pyramid without YOU. Until next time, Stay Loyal, Support Local.