Unchained Fitness is delighted to present Federico Moojen as our resident soccer expert. (Incidentally, he’s a ridiculously skilful player that has learned his trade on the sandy beaches of Brazil). Freddy is a professional soccer player currently playing in the Major Indoor Soccer League in the US. During his professional career, he has played for professional soccer clubs in Brazil, USA, Canada, Oman, Thailand, Poland, France, Portugal and Germany. He was 2006-2007 Major Indoor Soccer League rookie of the season.
How do you know Kieran Foy from Unchained Fitness?
I met Kieran at a fitness club in Montreal. I was looking for a high quality fitness coach with knowledge in soccer specific fitness. I trained with Kieran a few times before leaving to play in Asia in 2010. He is a great fitness expert and a great person as well (thanks bud!).
What are the physical & mental qualities that it takes to be a top professional footballer?
To be a top pro soccer player it takes a lot of determination and perseverance. You have to be ready to train hard with a high level of concentration and intensity pretty much seven days a week. The weekly training preparation for matches during a soccer season starts off with higher intensity in the first few days and then it slows down for the days preceding the match. Nevertheless, the concentration is very high throughout the entire week and even higher on game days, where every little detail is very important to be able to win games at this level.
What are your core fitness training beliefs or personal fitness philosophy?
To play soccer at a professional level you must be very fit. You need to be able to play during 90 minutes with the same level of intensity as you started the match. Athletes that are not fit are unable to keep up the same level of concentration and technique throughout the entire match, which makes a big difference in the outcome of the game. I feel that in the past few years, teams are devoting more and more time to fitness preparation and nutrition.
Footballers have always incurred lower limb injuries. What could professional clubs do for their players in order to minimise injury occurrences?
Professional clubs usually have a few weeks of pre-season training where the fitness coaches will progressively make sure that their athletes are getting stronger with specific exercises that will help prevent common injuries during the season. Building up fitness and lower body strength and doing some specific strength exercises during the season to keep the body strong and injury free are some of the things professional teams do to help athletes prevent injuries.
You have transitioned from 11-a-side professional football to the small-sided professional indoor leagues. What is the major physical difference between the two?
The major physical difference between both leagues is that in the small-sided games (indoor soccer) the preparation is devoted mostly to anaerobic fitness. We have to build our physical strength to be able to work at a very high intensity for 60 to 90 minutes at a time, with a rest period being around 2 minutes (players are free to sub in and out just like in hockey). Whereas in the outdoor soccer (11-a-side) you will have to have a better balance between aerobic and anaerobic endurance.
How would you compare the style of play in your native Brazil to that of the US and Canada and what is this due to?
The style of soccer in Brazil is MUCH more passive and slower than in North America. Soccer in North America is more direct and much faster than in Brazil. I believe that this is because we can find better and stronger athletes in general in North America whereas in Brazil we can find players with more technique, which will make the game slower, with more possession of the ball and many more passes before attempting to attack the opposite goal.
One of the reasons is that young athletes in North America have many other sport options (such as basketball, baseball, etc.) that help them become better overall athletes but not so much to become better soccer players with a high technique level. In Brazil, the majority of kids play just soccer and they start it at very early ages, which helps them to develop specific soccer skills as they grow up making the game more technical and less direct.