Union midfielder Pedro Ribeiro talks the process on what it took to get to the highest level

How Pedro Ribeiro did the right things to become an MLS pro

 

The process began before his freshman season at Coastal Carolina.

In order to achieve a dream of eventually playing in Major League Soccer, Pedro Ribeiro knew he would need to excel on the Division I level in college.

So Ribeiro had a videotape produced and sent around to various programs, showing off his skill set.

It worked.

Ribeiro had a major impact on the Coastal Carolina program and finished with 31 career goals and 26 assists. He guided the Chanticleers to an impressive 69-20-4 record, four trips to the NCAA Tournament, five NCAA wins, three Big South regular season titles and two Big South tournament championships.

Not bad at all for a player who wasn’t heavily recruited.

“I thought it was important to get my name out there first, so I could get in the door somewhere,” said the 6-foot-4, 208-pound midfielder, selected No. 15 overall by the Philadelphia Union in the MLS SuperDraft. “Once I got in, it was up to me. Thankfully, I did well and the coaches liked me. It was a good match for me and by the end, I was a much improved player.”

The Union believe that Ribeiro can help solidify the midfield.

His physical style is also something that caught the Union’s attention in a big way.

“You have to have a physical presence and component,” Union manager John Hackworth said. “We like that. We also know that it’s a fine line because we want guys who are physical and aggressive but also very skilled in other ways. Big guys are nice, but we need all-around players and Pedro fits that mold. He’s very skilled and he can also go up and make a play. I like that.”

Ribeiro, who hails from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, is ready for anything.

After working like crazy just to find a Division I program, he’s used to challenges.

“Hard work doesn’t scare me,” Ribeiro said. “I’ve been working at this game since I was a little boy. I think somewhere around three or four years old, my mom got mad at me because I began breaking things in the house by kicking the soccer ball around. I don’t remember. I just dribbled and kicked the ball all day. I remember that as I got older. Through the years, I think those ball skills improved because I started at such a young age.

“It’s not different now. It’s just a higher level of soccer. You need the ball skills and everything else to be successful. I’m up for the challenge. I’m excited about it and I want to continue to show that I belong here.”

Had it not been for some injuries as a senior at Coastal Carolina, he might have been selected higher in the SuperDraft.

It didn’t faze Ribeiro.

Whether he was selected No. 1 or 31, the work ethic doesn’t change.

“I was so happy when the Union took me because I knew them some from Reading United,” Ribeiro said. “They have a great organization with the Union and I’m excited to learn and help them. Their fans are great and so loud. Putting on their jersey makes me want to work even harder. I’m going to learn every day and get better every day. I’m going to put in the work.”

What do you think of Ribeiro? Leave your comment below.

Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at andy.jasner@yahoo.com