Tatu e Eu

By Sean McCaffery, July 31, 2019

Possibly the most exciting player in MISL history, Tatu and I had a bit of a chat and it covered todo mundo de futbol. If he was playing today, he would be cautioned every what, 2 out of 3 games, ejected at least once a month or so and suspended more than any other player in the history of the game for his tossing a shirt into the crowd following each goal. In that they never faced my NY Arrows, I am able to fully claim being a fan with no hesitation. A great player now turned coach, he still thinks of himself first as a player, still today and even now feels that it is all about the players. He has parted ways with the team that he is all but synonymous with the, Dallas Sidekicks. He will now be treated by all as an Outlaw, and rightfully so as he is now the Head Coach of the Mesquite Outlaws in the MASL. Just the other side of town from the Sidekicks, this will not be a manufactured rivalry, but a blood rivalry when these two teams meet up. The team owner, Mehrdad Moayedi is no stranger to soccer, having had a tryout way back when with the Dallas Tornado, he is now a real estate developer and as such purchased the home arena, Mesquite Arena and now heads the development around it.  The owning of your facility is thought to be a key to succcess and he has the key idea in developing the surrounding 54 acres from housing to retail, restaurants and beyond. Tatu concurs with this thinking as he informed me that the owner has the right idea in doing so and is well aware of his real estate acumen and very optimistic for the success of his new team.

While acknowledging that it is different now as a coach, he does want to instill in this team what he was all about, attacking soccer. Knowing that the fans want goals, not so much a possession style of play Tatu stated that indoor soccer=goals and the fans want that to go with faster play, he aims to fill the bill. Mesquite has a strong latino influence and via local trials he hopes to make them happy, former FC Dallas players have already reached out to play, ala Landon Donovan and Jermaine Jones and they would go a ways toward getting the team a higher profile. Looking forward, after building a team,he sees players such as those from LIGA MX as there are players there with him he has many ties via various family members etc. With the home arena being the only major entertainment venue local, he feels this will be a great assist in getting the team established as they also do rodeos there. He has played here since the 70's and scored a game winning goal facing the NY Cosmos while with Sao Paulo, his team had an arrangement with the Tampa Bay Rowdies which is what lead to him playing for them in Florida. Given he has been at the top of his game for many decades now, I had to ask how it is for him when current players inform him of having seen him play when they were children, he appreciates that very much as he is still remembered for his on field exploits it makes him feel good, old, but good. 

We began our chat with my informing him I was sitting in a parking lot within view of the home of the NY Arrows, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, we both agreed it is a historic place for the game, as shame that there is no local team here in NY, Utica is the closest. We then covered his past, from his outdoor days, MISL, MASL, USSF, MLS and beyond. We know I am sure hundreds of the same people yet have not met. I will have to get to a game this season to thank him for his time, well over an hour. Like me he is dismayed at how many former players are treated by the current leagues who laid the groundwork for what they have today even in Dallas where players such as George Ley of the NASL, MISL and English leagues & Captain America, David D'errico of the USMNT, NASL, MISL and other leagues here and abroad, they are acknowledged by some, Dallas Cup but not all higher level soccer groups. We hit on his 'keeper in Dallas, Billy Phillips having played opposite the Coliseum at Nassau Community ColIege where the mother of Shep Messing the first player signed by the MISL taught and Bruce Arena played his All-American lacrosse and the NY Arrows trained in an old hanger. I have invited many of my friends from those times to get out to the local games and the fans are always fawning all over them, a great thing for all. In short, Tatu is by far still a fan, of the game a player at heart and more than ready to get going with his new team. I fully expect this new endeavor to be met with equal if not higher successes as he has been met with thus far in his career.