New England Soccer Today

Q&A with Ilija Stolica

Before he arrived in New England this summer, very few Revolution fans could claim they knew who Ilija Stolica was. But, after scoring in his first MLS match against Houston, the well-traveled Serbian striker, would go on to become one of the club’s most effective players for the remainder of the season.

Julian Cardillo caught up with the man Revolution supporters call “Stoli” and asked him a few questions about his time in New England and his transition from European soccer to the American brand.

What did you think of the team before you arrived?

Before I arrived I didn’t know too many things.  I knew [about the team] from the stories from Marko [Perovic] especially.  [The rest of] what I knew was through googling a few things about the team and the club.  I found out it’s a good team for the level and the competition and that it was a young team with a good future.

What did you think the team was missing this season?

From the moment I arrived we were losing points on stupid mistakes we made and then it was really difficult, I think that was biggest.  You always need time to adapt to the way of playing and to new players.  We started to play well in the last 6 or 7 games, from those games we sometimes still didn’t get necessary points because of lack of concentration.  Whether it was inexperience where we lost points and we lost points late, in that situation it’s hard to change.

What do you think of the finish?

We started to change at the end and showed we had good mentality as a team.  There are always positives and negatives.  From the negative side we have to analyze to see what mistakes we were making and try to change those things.  On the positive side we showed we can do many good things and that we should focus on those things for the future.

Were you satisfied with what you contributed to the team?

I had the right moments and not so right moments.  I think I gave all I could in this moment and I was happy in the beginning because I started very quickly to adjust to the team and league.  Then things changed with traveling and fatigue and getting used to time zones which is something I never had in my career which was very hard for me.  I think next year will be much better, it will be easier for me to adapt and to play and give much more.

Is the American style of soccer difficult to get used to?

Soccer is soccer.  It’s not too much philosophy.  You have different things like in Europe people are different in some ways but the way of playing soccer should always be that you can adapt to anyway being played.  But the competition here is completely different.  You travel a lot.  It’s difficult to adapt to those circumstances.  For example, you go to Denver and play at altitude and then three days later you play in Dallas where it is humid and I don’t know how many degrees…

What forward on the team do you think you work best with?

I think for me it’s much easier to be with Marko for many reasons.  We play the same way, [come from the] same country, [speak the] same language, we have the same football school and we understand each other without thinking too much.

What do you think about the players on trial and the prospect of signing a DP?

We had a few good players who have quality but the point is which type of players the coaches will consider necessary to the team.  It depends on the coach, it depends on the type of player.

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