HOT TOPICS WITH TATU
Tatu has been playing or coaching the indoor game for more than four decades, spanning from 1981 to the present.
For those who are not familiar with his storied career, Antonio Carlos Pecorari - that is Tatu's given name - played for 21 seasons: all but one with the Dallas Sidekicks. He starred on four championship sides, was a MVP six times with three leagues, an all-star 11 times and scoring champion on an incredible 11 occasions.
In 633 regular season games, he averaged more than a goal and an assist per match with 857 tallies and 726 assists. He was just prolific in the playoffs with 87 goals and 91 assists in 87 appearances.
Tatu was inducted into the Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame in 2011.
Given his ultra-long career, we asked him to comment about a few topics concerning the sport and his career.
On the one pass rule for goalkeepers
"It forces you to create more set situations where in the past anytime you got in trouble the ball went back to the keeper. So, the games are a little different. Now is only one [pass]. Now the defenders have to be able to bring the ball forward and have to be able to break the pressure and doing other things. That excites me because it's more in a more thinking game than it was. In the past, players made the game great by their creativity, and they understand the movement. Now, it's a little bit more structured, which, as a coach, I love it. I don't know if I would love it as a player, but definitely as a coach I like it because you have a little bit more control on what is going on the field.
On Steve Zunugl being elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame
"Well, first of all, I'm extremely happy for him. He had a well-deserved, wonderful career. When I came here, he was the Lord of all Indoors. Steve was incredible. He played for so many championship teams. He scored got so many goals. He was first class. He's so well deserved. Glad he got in."
On the possibility of him being elected to the NSHOF
"On my end, there's something I cannot control. But definitely will be a honor in my life if someday I'm considered. That would be the ultimate reward for my career. I think that will top everything, all the championships all the good things happen in the sport for me. I think that would be the ultimate.
"I'm humble enough to understand there's a lot of people who deserve to be there. Ron Newman, with the San Diego Sockers. He won 10-11 championships there. As a coach that's something special. Keith Tozer [MASL commissioner], his contribution as a coach and through the futsal and now with the league, I think that also means a lot for soccer. … If someday that happens, trust me, I'll be as excited as hell."
On playing all but one of his indoor seasons with one team (Dallas Sidekicks)
"I had opportunity to go to other places. I had opportunity to go play in San Diego to go to Baltimore, an opportunity to go to Cleveland [for] more money. Some were better teams, with better players around me, which would help me to evolve and get better. But people in Dallas embraced me from day one. Money for me, it was never an issue playing. I didn't come from a wealthy family. I came from a poor family in Brazil. I am who I am. If I make $1 or I make a million, so that was never the driving point for me.
“I had an opportunity to go other places, but I decided to stay here. The team [sometimes] was not as good as some of the other teams, but loyalty is very important. I think that's the most important thing. The moment you give your word to someone I think you have to follow through; the moment you shake someone's hands, ‘I'm here with you. That's the way I feel. That's the way my father raised me. Your words are who you are. If you're in a relationship and you start looking for something else. I think that's not the right way to go about life."
On coaching youth and high school players
"I love the teaching part of the game. I'm old school and I believe you make the player better and automatically the team is better because the individual gets better. I do not believe you make the team better and then the individual suffers. It’s the other way around. That's important. And I'm a pain in the ass, unfortunately old school, a little cranky as I get older. But I love the teaching part. I don't like the coaching part, but I like the teaching parts."
Michael Lewis, the editor of FrontRowSoccer.com, can be followed on Twitter at @SoccerWriter. He can be reached via email at Michael@FrontRowSoccer.com. His book Alive and Kicking: The incredible, but true story of the Rochester Lancers, recently was published. It can be purchased at https://tinyurl.com/2p8rzhpy.