Catching up with the Fire’s Gonzalo Segares, our favorite Costa Rican athlete in Chicago

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Since we interviewed Gonzalo Segares just one year ago, much has changed for both parties. The Sports Bank has seen vast changes in its readership- so far in August, the site has already accumulated three times as many views as it received in all of August 2009, and there are still ten days left in the month.

Segares‘ life changed dramatically as well. At this point last year, the Costa Rican international had spent his entire professional career playing in MLS with the Chicago Fire. Yet after the 2009 season, “Sega” left Chicago to get a taste of European football, signing with Apollon Limassol in Cyprus.

By Sam Svoboda

But some things also remain the same. According to site statistics, TSB is still ridiculously popular in Costa Rica, where our site ranking is about 30 times better than it is in the US- fairly surprising, given the site’s focus local focus. And Segares is once again a Chicago Fire player, having rejoined the team earlier this month after his contract with Apollon expired.

And it did not take the defender long to slot back into the left back position he called home for years, earning the start and playing 90 minutes as the Fire defeated New England 2-1 on Wednesday night. I caught up with him after the match for a short interview- here’s what he had to say:

… on how he felt in his first match back with the Fire

I feel pretty confident. I’m definitely not 100% physically, but I think that’s just [something that will come] day-to-day, in practice. But I feel comfortable. I’m used to [central defenders] Wilman [Conde] and CJ [Brown] in the back four. Maybe I was trying to understand a little bit with [new signing] Nery [Castillo, who played ahead of Segares on the left wing], but then Mike Banner came in in the second half, and it was no problem at all… so I think most of it is going to be getting back into game shape.

… on what he missed most about Chicago

The food [laughs], definitely. My friends, the fans, this stadium. The facilities… you know, I think facilities-wise we’re way ahead of everybody, so that’s definitely a plus that I missed about [the US].

… on what his experience in Cyprus added to his game

Yeah, you always learn… you know, it’s tough, it’s a way different league, way different country. It was a little bit slower-paced, but the guys are very good technique-wise. So I think that I learned [a lot]… maybe being a little more patient with the ball, trying to move it around a little bit more. I don’t know, I think the mentality of the coach that we had over there was way different. He was a Serbian guy, he was really strict. But you always learn with good coaches.

Tactic-wise it is pretty good here, and over there it was excellent as well, so every day you just try to learn something new.

… on if he would like another shot at playing in Europe at some point in his career

Yeah, definitely. I’m a little frustrated at how things went [in Cyprus], but it’s always a dream [to play in Europe], and you can’t always just forget about it. You’ve got to keep working hard… hopefully in the future, we’ll see.

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