Q&A with Portland's Lamar Batista
Lamar Batista, 20, is a former Heritage Hall standout who is in his second season as a professional with Portland Timbers FC 2.
He answered some questions from The Oklahoman before Saturday night's match with Energy FC.
Q: This is the second time you have returned to Oklahoma City to face Energy FC since turning pro. Does it feel differently coming back this time?
A: Yeah, a little bit. Last year I was a little nervous, but this year it's just another game.
Q: What did you learn the most in your first professional season?
A: I learned it's a cutthroat business. It's not college soccer. It's not high school soccer. It's a business. This was my first year in finding out what happens in the offseason when you don't perform well. You don't play you get cut, and that's it.
Q: Was that a big shock to you?
A: Yeah, that was a big shock. Players that were decent, if they didn't produce like they were supposed to, then they got released. It was a big eye-opener for me.
Q: Did it change your attitude about the sport?
A: Oh yeah, for sure, just to take it more seriously and not only to be a pro for four hours of the day when I am training or at a game but on and off the field. It's a full-time job. You got to take care of your body and do the right thing at all times.
Q: Did you have to learn to discipline yourself more?
A: At the pro level you are treated like a grown man and you make your own decisions on and off the field and there are consequences for them.
Q: What are your professional goals? Where do you want to be in five or 10 years?
A: Hopefully overseas somewhere playing. Not too picky on where it is. Maybe in Germany. Maybe somewhere in England or Spain. Five years from now I will be 25 and hopefully I am in with a national team at some point. It's always been a goal of mine.
Q: You lived in Oklahoma City so you are familiar with the Oklahoma weather. Does it surprise you that you are playing soccer in April but it feels more like winter?
A: I knew something crazy was going to happen.
Q: Did any of the Portland players ask you about the unusual weather in Oklahoma?
A: Yeah. All of them.
ED GODFREY, STAFF WRITER