With thanks to Soccer World, this week we catch up with the captain of a team making quite the statement in both the Gold Coast Premier League and the FFA Cup.
Learn more about Surfers Paradise’s Bruno Rodriguez.
QSN: How were you first introduced to the game and what was your first junior club?
BR: I was first introduced to the game by my dad. He signed me up to my first junior club when I was four at Maeso Football Club in Montevideo, Uruguay.
QSN: Tell us about your football playing history
BR: It all began in Uruguay playing for Maeso from Under fours through to under tens. I then moved onto River Plate for under elevens before the family relocated to Australia.
When I first came here, I played at Merrimac and represented the Gold Coast at the Talent Identification Series from under 12s through to under 18s
In that time, I was at Burleigh Heads for under 14s and 15s and in both years I played a year above our age group. Basically the whole team did, as we all played together in the Gold Coast Rep team.
I then progressed to reserve grade at Burleigh FC in 2006 winning the league and grand final after being undefeated all year. I also sat on the bench and played some minor minutes with the first team.
Musgrave was where I had my first few years of Premier League football in 2007 being selected as players player on my first year. I was at Musgrave for three years before moving onto Merrimac in 2011 which was a big lead up to us winning the league undefeated the following year.
In 2013 I decided to give the NPL a shot and made it into the Palm Beach NPL team. Unfortunately due to work circumstances I had no option but to go back to the local league.
So mid-2013 I joined Surfers Paradise and haven’t looked back since. Yes, I know I’ve been to just about every club on the Gold Coast (laughs).
QSN: What opportunities has football given you?
BR: I believe that football has given me many opportunities. To name a few; meeting long term friends, gaining life skills, travelling and being able to communicate with my team mates even when I had a language barrier.
QSN: What have been your greatest individual and team moments?
BR: My greatest team moments would be when I played for Merrimac and won the Gold Coast Premier League in 2012. Also progressing to the round of 64 in this year’s FFA cup with Surfers Paradise.
An individual moment that stood out for me was in 2011 playing for Merrimac when I was awarded players’ player and coach’s award. It made me feel like a valued player by my team and coach.
QSN: Surfers are in the top 3 of the Premier League and on a giant killing run in the FFA Cup. What do you attribute Apollos great form in 2016 to?
BR: We have a very close group of friends at the club. We treat each other like family and I think that shows a lot in the way we play. David (Benigno) our coach has done a great job in getting everyone to understand the way he wants the team to move the ball around. We constantly have a good turnout at training which for our level I believe has been vital to our recent success.
QSN: What does it mean to you and the club to be participating in the cup and receiving the exposure you are for your performances?
BR: I think I speak for the entire club when I say we are all extremely excited about reaching so far in the cup. We are seeing articles in our local newspapers every day. It’s crazy, some of them are double page spreads bigger than some A-League articles. I believe that most of us haven’t had this type of exposure before and it’s a great opportunity for all of us and football on the Gold Coast.
QSN: If you were to get through to the round of 32 in the cup who would your dream draw be against?
BR: 100% as a team our dream draw would be Western Sydney at their home stadium. The atmosphere in that place would be an experience we would all cherish.
QSN: Who is the best you have played with or against in your career?
BR: I have had the privilege of playing with and against a number of players who have gone on to be professional footballers like James Brown, Mitch Nicholls and Johnathan Urretavizcaya. As a junior I also had the chance to play against Tommy Oar and Luke Brattan on more than one occasion.
QSN: Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
BR: I like to meditate shortly before leaving the dressing room. It is something that I have included the whole squad in this year. It helps me feel centred, focused and relaxed. I also always walk on to the field with my right foot. I don’t know why but it’s something that has just stuck with me since I was a kid.
QSN: Most embarrassing moment on the pitch?
BR: I have had a few moments but my most embarrassing moment on the football field would definitely have to be when I was playing for Merrimac in under 13s. I took a free kick from a narrow angle and thought I curled the ball into the far top corner. I ran off celebrating then a few seconds later I realised no one else was and the keeper was about to take a goal kick. That one takes the cake.
QSN: Favourite drink, music, football idol and football club?
BR: All Berry Bang (Boost Juice), Hip Hop/ RnB, Alvaro Recoba and Luis Suarez, Club Nacional De Football
QSN: Who has been the most influential football coach/person or main football influence and why?
BR: My dad would definitely be both. Since I was very young he always took me to all my games and was always my toughest critic. He has taught me the majority of what I know not only in football but life in general and he is someone I have looked up to since I was a young kid.
QSN: What do you do with yourself away from the football pitch?
BR: Outside of the football pitch I enjoy hanging out with friends, spending time with my fiancé and our families and playing tennis with my dad.
QSN: Do you have a passion away from football?
BR: I am passionate about all sports in general but football is the ultimate. I was born and grew up in South America, it’s in my blood. To be honest I couldn’t think of anything else that I am more passionate about.
QSN: If you weren’t a footballer what other sport would you play?
BR: I really enjoy playing and watching tennis, so it would definitely be my second choice. I also love basketball but obviously my height would be a factor haha.
Thanks for your time Bruno.
Bruno is currently out injured at the moment with a severe nose injury suffered in the FFA Cup win against SWQ Thunder but he’ll be an avid observer as Surfers Paradise make the short trip to league leaders Broadbeach on Saturday night in the Premier League with kick off at 5pm.
Then in just over a fortnight, can Surfers Paradise eliminate three NPL clubs in a row to make the FFA Cup final 32? To do that, they’ll need to overcome Sunshine Coast Fire. Kickoff for that one is 5pm at Lex Bell Oval, Surfers Paradise on Saturday 11 June.
Name: Bruno Rodriguez
Nickname: B and Bruce
Prefered position/s: Centre mid, defensive mid, attacking mid, right back.
-Gold Coast Representative U12 – U18
-State Champions 2015 U15’s
-Gold Coast Premier League Winner – 2012