"I WHOLEHEARTEDLY BELIEVE THAT WE ARE ALREADY BETTER PREPARED FOR THE UPCOMING SEASON"
15 / 02 / 2016
INTERVIEW WITH MEN'S TEAM CAPTAIN ALEKS ALUNĀNSDate Published: 15:08, 15/02/2016 Authour: Richard Youatt The Riga United Supporters' Group caught up with the men's team captain Aleksandrs Alunāns for a quick chat ahead of the first preseason friendly against FK Auda. We asked him some questions about his thoughts on last season and the 2016 one.
RUSG: Hello Aleks! So, as well as club captain, you have recently joined the coaching team. How do you feel about that?
Aleks: I feel great! Most folks know that my life right now revolves around the coaching work I'm doing at FS Metta, so I'm more than happy to offer the skills and experience I've gained there for the benefit of Rīga United. However, I do not consider myself a 'coach' in the sense that I'm teaching people how to play… instead, I'm bringing my knowledge of training and teaching the team how to execute drills. I trust that the players we have at this club understand how to play football, and thus my job becomes more about physical preparation and less about any kind of development.
RUSG: With that, do you feel you'll be able to get a better view of your team mates?
Aleks: Not necessarily… I'm not looking at anyone differently, nor am I really passing any judgment. I leave that to our manager, Mo [Awada]. I'm working hard to make sure everyone trains well, and that includes myself!
RUSG: There have been some changes with coaches during the off-season how do you feel about the new coaching line up? What do you feel this can bring to Riga United this season?
Aleks: The coaching lineup is great! I know these guys well, and we work well together. What this brings for RU is a different level of preparation, a chance to have everyone training at a higher level and gaining a higher level of sharpness before the season starts.
RUSG: And on a a personal note, how do you feel preseason training has gone?
Aleks: So far, superbly! I think we've done more, higher quality work in the last month than we did in the whole of preseason last year. That's no dig at our efforts last year, we just didn't know what we were preparing for. Now that the club understands what it means to compete at this level, we took the appropriate steps to better prepare for that!
RUSG: Looking to you as a player now, this is your second year with the club, what attracted you to Riga United? In your first season, you'll recieved the club captain role, how did you feel about that?
Aleks: What attracted me to Rīga United was definitely the international aspect. Of course, I consider myself to be Latvian by birth, but since that birth happened in the United States, I was very keen on joining a team that would perpetuate the international aspects of my life. As for being named captain in my first season, it was an honor! I relish the additional responsibility because I am always looking to support and motivate those around me, even when many of those teammates are more talented than I am!
RUSG: By your own expectations, how did you feel last season went for the team?
Aleks: In all honesty, my expectations were low. I fully supported our move into the Riga Division because I believed that this club was up to the challenge. The initial growing pains and defeats came as no suprise to me, as I had anticipated a difficult and long season. Sure, I didn't realize JUST how bad it would get *(Caramba), but in the end I was able to take it all on the chin. What I did not expect, and what came as a fantastic surprise, was the fact that by the end of the season the majority of our squad had adapted to the nature of the league. Our players found a level of fight and desire that had not been anywhere on the radar at the beginning of the season, and I think regardless of how our footballing 'careers' pan out, that discovery will end up being life-changing for many of us.
RUSG: First preseason friendly coming up against FK Auda, how do you feel about that? What are you looking to get from this game?
Aleks: We have a lot of new faces at the club - players who, in training so far, have shown some real quality. Of course, everything is different on a pitch, and so this match is a good opportunity for a lot of our new players to feel that pressure, and see how they respond. I am in no way at all concerned with the result - I think this match is a great place for our preseason preparations to continue.
RUSG: ...and looking towards the upcoming season, how do you feel it will go?
Aleks: That's a very difficult question. Winning the league is not on anyone's mind, nor should it be. Can we do better than last year? Absolutely - I wholeheartedly believe that we are already better prepared for the upcoming season. But other teams are preparing as well, so we have to make sure our feet stay on the ground and we keep working hard.
RUSG: The Riga United community is a strong one as you know, do you have a message for them?
Aleks: I've been happily surprised by the size and strength of the RU community! I would just like to thank everyone for the support, and promise that we are working hard and doing our best to try and make everyone proud!
RUSG: Ok, moment of truth. Here are some quick fire questions:
Favourite moment at R.U?
*That Marienburg match. School 49 was on fire!
Worst Moment at R.U?
Marco in the showers. Please don't make me elaborate…
Favourite player in all of football?
Active footballer: Paul Pogba
All time: Thierry Henry
Of course, that's not a fair question for me to answer. Anton Ågebrant.
The teamamte who talks too much…
Nobody talks enough!!!!
Something you can't live without?
Heinz Tomato Ketchup.
Favourite team other than R.U of course?
When you are not playing football or coaching, you are.....
Thank you so much for you time Aleks, we wish you all the best of luck for the upcoming season....
*Aleks is reffering to the 13-2 loss against FC Caramba on game day 6 (10/06/2015) and the 8-0 victory against FC Marienburg on game day 23 (10/09/2015) respectively.