NPSL Spotlight with Raphael Araujo of New Jersey Copa FC
GoalNation spoke with NPSL Player of the Week Raphael Araujo in our latest highlight interview of the award’s recipients. The winner of this national honor is determined by a vote of media members from across the country. It is awarded every week during the regular season.
NPSL Soccer News: New Jersey Copa FC forward Raphael Araujo received Mitre National Player of the Week honors after recording six goals against Buxmont Torch, a match that concluded in a 7-3 win for NJCFC.
GoalNation spoke with Araujo as we present our latest exclusive interview on the NPSL’s Mitre Player of the Week.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you like best about your team?
Raphael Araujo: What I like best about playing here is the fact that the team is very close together. All the players respect each other on and off the field and we always push each other to get better each and every single day. Also, the coaches always provide me with the expertise to continue to develop as a player.
Diane Scavuzzo: How long have you been with your team?
Raphael Araujo: I have been playing with NJ Copa FC for the last two years.
Diane Scavuzzo: How long have you played in the NPSL?
Raphael Araujo: I started playing last year with NJ Copa FC in the NPSL and it’s a very competitive league full of talented players.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is your position?
Raphael Araujo: I play number 9 (striker) most of the time and have played the 10 position from time to time. My favorite part about the striker position is the fact that I get to constantly be in the attacking third of the field, allowing me to be creative in tight spaces in order to beat defenders and create goal scoring opportunities.
Diane Scavuzzo: When did you first start playing soccer?
Raphael Araujo: I have been playing soccer since I can remember. I was born and raised in Brazil, a country where futebol is a national passion.
Diane Scavuzzo: What team did you first play for?
Raphael Araujo: The first team I played for was my school’s futsal team.
Diane Scavuzzo: Did you play or are you playing collegiate soccer?
Raphael Araujo: I played college soccer for NJCU as a freshman and sophomore before transferring to Rutgers University of Newark. I became their first All-American player.
Diane Scavuzzo: What does it take to be an impact player?
Raphael Araujo: I am a firm believer that no matter how talented you are as a player you won’t be the best unless you work extremely hard. I work very hard to be the best I can be on and off the field, meaning having a good diet, taking care of my body by working out and getting the proper recovery, and of course at training sessions where I get to improve my technical and tactical skills.
Diane Scavuzzo: Please tell us about your coach — what is he like to play for?
Raphael Araujo: I’m very thankful for my coaches, head coach Roberto Aguas and associate head coach Billy Englishby, because they provide me with the expertise to improve as a player. They also believe in me as a leader by making me one of the captains of the team. My coaches also hold me to high standards and demand the best out of me.
Diane Scavuzzo: What inspires you?
Raphael Araujo: My family is my inspiration. They always support me and motivate me to be the best that I can be. I do whatever it takes to be a great role model for them and show them that hard work pays off.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are your goals as a player?
Raphael Araujo: Soccer is a team sport and my goal as a player is always to win a championship. Our team this season is composed of many young players, but the most important thing is that we believe in each other and work extremely hard,. That’s why we have been very successful this season and are looking to win it all.
Diane Scavuzzo: Do you want to play in Europe or in the MLS?
Raphael Araujo: Even though the MLS has been getting better in terms of level of playing, and bringing superstars to the league, my dream has always been to play in Europe. They, in my opinion, have the best leagues and clubs in the world.
Diane Scavuzzo: If you could pick any super power, what would it be and why?
Raphael Araujo: There are many superpowers that I would like to have, but I would say being fast like the Flash would be very cool.
Diane Scavuzzo: Who is your favorite soccer team or player? Who do you root for behind closed doors?
Raphael Araujo: My favorite club team is Real Madrid, mainly because of Los Galacticos who had many of my favorite players. My favorite player of all time is Ronaldo (Fenomeno). He is the reason why I wear the jersey number 9, I grew up watching him play and in my opinion if it wasn’t for his career threatening injuries he would be the greatest player of all time. Also, he helped my country Brazil win the FIFA World Cup in 2002 by being the tournament’s top scorer.