In early 2011 we were alerted that a talented Brazilian Midfielder was impressing the club coaches in the Cruzeiro Academy, was born in New York City. Luis Felipe Fernandes, or Lipe as we have come to know him, has been a consistent performer over the last season for a Cruzeiro U20 squad that is considered one of the top youth sides in the World.
Earlier this week US U20 Head Coach Tab Ramos called-up the Brazilian following an impressive showing in this years IMG Cup this December in front of a number of US Soccer Scout and Coaches. Lipe’s Cruzeiro Sport Club won the U20 division following a draw with Premier League Youth side Tottenham.
We caught up with the US’ newest youth international ::
OWTY :: What are your connections with the USA?
Luis Felipe Fernandes :: I was born in Mineola , New York , on 01/29/1996 . My parents are Brazilian and came to the United States for work.
OWTY :: Where and When did you start playing soccer?
LF :: I started playing soccer at small schools in the city where I used to live. Later on, I went to Belo Horizonte to compete in a trial with Cruzeiro and passed . I’ve been on Cruzeiro Esporte Clube team since 2008.
OWTY :: Who are some of the players you try to emulate your game after?
LF :: I Observe multiple players and am always seeking to improve myself. But the player who I identify myself like most and try to be like is Paulinho, the Brazilian player with Tottenham Hotspur in England .
OWTY :: What are your prospects with Cruzeiro? Do you hope to progress to the first team soon?
LF :: I really want to be a professional player with Cruzeiro. However, I do not know how long this will take to happen. In the meantime, I will continue doing my work in under-20 team and wait to be called.
OWTY :: You have been under the tutelage of some of the best coaches and trainers in Brazil, how have they made you a better player?
LF :: The insistence and competition in Brazil is very hard. To improve, you need more than just will; you need to be smart and capture what the coach wants and asks everyday. I always try to follow their advice and get better each time I play.
OWTY :: What is your preferred position?
LF :: Midfield, on the left
OWTY :: What are some aspects of your game that you feel you need to improve on?
LF :: I think I need to improve in all aspects. I ‘m still forming as a player and I know the road is long until the top of my career.
OWTY :: How did US Soccer first contact you? Did they scout many of your games while in the IMG Cup?
LF :: My agent, Rene Salviano, always tried to show my work to the observers of the American National Team. In 2011, they saw me at a tournament in Belo Horizonte, called Future Champions. I made a goal at the final and I made a real good impression to most watching. This December I played well during the IMG Cup and the US watched me closely.
OWTY :: Have you ever been selected to Brazilian youth national teams?
LF :: No. I have not had the opportunity.
OWTY :: Where do you see yourself a year from now? 5 years from now?
LF :: I know it’s difficult, but I really want to participate in the first team of Cruzeiro. I will also strive to follow my career with the American National Team and compete in the U20 World Cup in New Zealand in 2015. Those are the things I think of at the moment.
We would like to thank Diego Augusto for helping us set-up the interview with Luis Felipe.
:: Globo Esporte Article ::
:: Brazilian Time Article ::