Afonso Pinheiro has enjoyed plenty of success in recent years, whether that be for FC Tucson in the PDL or for the University at Albany, as he is doing everything he can to make the jump to the next level.
The Albany forward, who was named to the 2016 MAC Hermann Trophy Watchlist, is currently competing in his junior* season. He has scored two goals in two games for the Great Danes. In the 2016 PDL campaign, Pinheiro scored nine goals and provided one assist in 15 total games.
September is Self-Improvement Month, and PDL players and coaches across North America will be working to develop and hone their skills. Focused on the continuous development of the player using the #Path2Pro model, the PDL will take a closer look at how players try to improve their skill sets and physical abilities, as well as look into how coaches try to improve their players, throughout the month of September.
PDL: Describe a typical day in your life. How often do you train, exercise and practice in a day, week?
AP: Usually, my day starts early at 7:30 a.m. when I wake up to have breakfast. After that, I head to a really intense morning session with the team followed by an ice bath and stretching at the training room. Once I'm done, I usually have to be quick and go straight to class while eating a protein bar and drinking something on my way. After one or two classes, I have a break that I use to have lunch – usually 12:30 p.m. I normally take a quick nap after lunch so I have enough energy to keep going. After that I finish my last class in the afternoon and that's when I like to do some extra work, usually at the gym with our trainer. At night is when I get to go back to my apartment, cook, and use the time to do class assignments or study. That is also the time I usually FaceTime my family. If not, I'll hang out with friends and play some FIFA.
PDL: What is your favorite training drill? Why?
AP: My favorite training drill is finishing and short sprints. I believe that, as a forward, if I manage to be good in both these aspects, I can potentially be more dangerous in and around the box. The main reason I like to do that is because Ronaldo and Romario [Brazilian soccer stars] are my role models as soccer players, and that was their main specialty.
PDL: What are your eating habits, and is a good diet important to you? What is your favorite meal?
AP: My eating habits might be my weakness. I don't eat many vegetables since I was a little kid, but I try to balance that by drinking green juices throughout my day. Besides that, I always try to eat healthy since I know that a good diet is essential for any athlete. I usually eat a lot of carbs so I have energy during the day and more protein during the night so that I build muscles while sleeping. I also like to use supplement that will help with my diet like protein shakes or mass gainers. My favorite meal is stroganoff – famous in Brazil – and sushi.
PDL: What are your fitness habits? Do you like to train, run and exercise when you are not with the team?
AP: I always like to train more than just the team schedule because I believe it makes me better and more confident to play – obviously always taking care of my body so I don't overtrain. That extra training can be lifting, running, biking, finishing, passing or even stretching. It depends if it's after a game where I need rest or starting the week feeling good with some extra fitness at night.
PDL: How many hours do you typically sleep in a night? How important is it for you to get a good night’s rest before a game or practice?
AP: I usually sleep seven to nine hours a day, depending on how busy it was that night. And before games, I try to sleep for at least nine hours. A good night of rest is extremely important for any person because it fully determines how energetic you’ll be and how much your muscles will recover. With such a long day as a student-athlete, it is essential to have good sleep so I can keep up with school and training hard.
*This post has been updated.