Three years after becoming the second-youngest player signing in MLS history, Diego Fagundez has developed into one of the best players in MLS at the ripe age of 18-years-old. In the midst of a sensational season in which he’s scored a team-high 12 goals, there’s no doubt that the original Revolution Homegrown Player has also developed into the face of the franchise, as well.
Brian O’Connell: A couple of things that many people – whether its coaches, teammates, or supporters – have marveled at since you signed with the club at 15 is your professionalism and maturity. Who do you think has helped you the most in staying grounded?
Diego Fagundez: I think, overall, it’s my dad, but another person I could probably say has helped me is Dan Colwell at Boston University (who coached Fagundez prior to joining the Revolution Academy). Those two were definitely the ones that kept me grounded and told me everything about what was going to happen, or the way it could happen. They knew I had to keep focusing on playing and not get my head too big, and just save all the energy for staying professional and helping the team.
O’Connell: Given that you really haven’t had the chance to have a normal teenage life because of your committment to pro soccer, do you ever feel like you’ve missed out on aspects of just being a normal teenager?
Fagundez: To tell you the truth, I really don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything. I’m living the dream that I’ve always wanted, so I’ve never looked back or anything. But sometimes, you feel like going to the mountain to snowboard and stuff, and I know my friends can do that, but for me, I don’t want to go do that because I could get hurt. So, yeah, there are little things that I can’t do, but I’m basically just trying to do everything that I can so I can have fun and still be an 18-year-old.
O’Connell: What area have you seen yourself grow the most since you signed with the team at 15?
Fagundez: Probably playing defense. That’s definitely been one of the hardest parts for me. But I’ve definitely learned, especially with Jay (Heaps) pushing me, and especially with the center backs and defenders who push you even more, especially during the games, like Chris Tierney when I play on the left side, he’s always the one that communicates with me. Jose (Goncalves) is another defender that just always gives good advice whenever he can.