New England Soccer Today

Sousa Looking Ahead to Fresh Start

Andrew Sousa (left) takes the ball at midfield while Keegan Campbell looks for the feed. (Photo: Chris Aduama/

QUINCY, Mass. – Six months ago, Andrew Sousa was slapped with a label that all footballers dread: player without a club.

After a promising rookie season with the Revolution – where he scored a pair of goals in eight reserve games – the club waived the Fall River native weeks after the season concluded. And just like that, the 22-year-old was suddenly without a team.

In the months that followed, Sousa received trials and invitations at the USL level. But none were worth pursuing, at least in his mind. That was, until he received an offer from Sergio Taborda, the head coach of Boston Victory.

For Sousa, it was more than just the prospect of to playing nearby that piqued his interest. It was the opportunity to help foster the sport at grassroots level that helped convince him to sign with the club.

“It was great for me because of what this club brings to the Boston area is tremendous,” Sousa said. “Boston’s been looking for a soccer team for a long time and for me to represent a club like Victory is excellent.”

Making an impression

On Saturday, Sousa got his first chance to officially represent the Victory a day after the team signed him. Donning the black and red striped jersey, the 22-year-old, who started in the central midfield, went 67 minutes and played a number of teasing crosses and free kicks during Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Junior Lone Star FC.

Although the newly-signed playmaker may not have played at full fitness, head coach Sergio Taborda certainly appreciated the effort put forth by the Fall River native.

“His performance was good (considering) his level of fitness,” Taborda said. “He gave what he could. I liked it. When he gets fit and becomes more confident, his soccer is going to be even more fluid.”

That’s certainly what Sousa is aiming to achieve once the PDL season gets underway come May 5. With two weeks to build his fitness and get involved with regular training, all signs point to a player who’ll be ready to pounce once the games begin to count.

Setting the bar high

When it comes to personal goals for the 2012 season, Sousa wasn’t shy about his personal expectations – especially considering where he was year ago.

After spending a full season with a first division side, Sousa knows what he’s capable of that the PDL level.

“I want to be one of the best players in PDL,” Sousa said. “There are a lot of good players that came out of this league and I’m still young. So for me to complete a good season, stay injury-free and be one of the best players in the league is one of my biggest goals.”

But that doesn’t mean Sousa believes that he can do it alone. No player can. In fact, given his reputation as a technical player, you can bet he’ll be leaning on his teammates to orchestrate in an attempt to achieve that goal.

Looking ahead

One thing in Sousa’s favor for putting together a high-caliber campaign is talent around him. When Taborda composed his roster, he didn’t want undisciplined, kick-and-run type players.

Rather, he wanted footballers. He wanted players who were comfortable on the ball, and dynamic off of it. He made it a point of putting together a squad that played polished soccer.

“We have a lot of technical players,” Sousa said. “It’s not the finished product yet, but you can see that we’re starting to put the pieces together. We play a great style of soccer that’s attractive to the community.”

That’s the hope, at least. In order for Victory to succeed, they’ll have to be more than good. They’ll have to play a brand of soccer that’ll bring the fans through the turnstyles at Veterans Memorial Stadium. And that’s a challenge Sousa hopes to help Boston conquer.

Tough road ahead

There are no easy games, not even in PDL. And that’s something that Sousa, who played in PDL for the Rhode Island Stingrays in 2009, knows and understands.

But, according to the central midfielder, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Actually, in the grand scheme of things, it’s the exact opposite.

“I think it’s good for the northeast, in terms of the level of soccer,” Sousa said. “And to bring a high level of soccer here to Boston is very imporant. I think it’s going to be a good season.”

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