March 12, 2007 Toronto Star interviews Toronto FC's Edson Buddle (from Toronto Star)

UNPLUGGED - Sports - Famous name has familiar ring

Mar 12, 2007 04:30 AM
Edson Buddle was raised in Westchester County, just north of New York City, but he grew up in the goalmouth.

His dad, a retired soccer pro named Winston Buddle, teaches soccer full-time in the New York area and, as a kid, Edson was his dad's top student.

The education continued after they left the field. At home, Winston would cue up highlight reels of soccer stars like Pele. Edson would watch and learn.

At 25, Buddle is still putting his father's lessons to work as one of Major League Soccer's highest-scoring forwards and one of Toronto FC's main sources of optimism as the club prepares for its first MLS season.

In a league in which teams rarely average two goals a contest, Buddle once scored four in a game. In 83 MLS matches, he has scored 33 goals and figures to score many more now that he's in Toronto.

After a recent practice Buddle took a few minutes with Unplugged to talk about football, food and following in his father's footsteps.

How did you get the name Edson?

My dad's a big fan of Pele (whose given name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento) and he decided to name his son after the player that he admired, so I had no choice.

Did you feel extra pressure to live up to the name?

Not at all. I definitely felt a lot of pressure to watch those videos my dad made me watch in the living room when he told me I was named after (Pele). But living in the U.S., not too many people knew where the name Edson came from, so that's why there isn't as much pressure as it sounds.

Your rookie year, what was it like making the transition from the A League to the MLS?

It was a lot faster. Competitiveness, professionalism, the consistency. The players come in every day ready to train. I realized I had to change my diet.

What was your diet like in the A League?

I really didn't have too much of a diet. I thought you could eat anything. You could eat a grilled chicken sandwich from Wendy's and you'd be all right. But now it's not as kosher.

What's it like now?

Protein. Lots of protein. Wheat bread. Wheat pastas. Mainly a lot of protein, though.

Do you have a personal chef?

I wish (laughs). This is not the NFL, it's the MLS. I can do the cooking myself.

So what's your specialty?

Curry chicken or curry shrimp and rice. I'm from a Caribbean background. Both my parents are Jamaican, so I definitely like the Jamaican curry. I know the Trinidad curry is a little different.

When you're not playing soccer or cooking, what are you doing?

Going to the movies. TV, I like a lot of reality shows. But I definitely like movies. Comedies. I like fishing, also. In Columbus they had lakes. I'm not like a big fisherman, with all the appliances and stuff. I can just put a little rod on a stick. Stillwater fishing. When I was growing up in New York we had the Byrum River, Hudson park. One of my friends had a fishing rod and his dad had a boat.

So would you ever enter a bass fishing tournament?

Naw, naw. No way. I don't think I could do that. I haven't fished in a while, actually. I would like to fish while I'm in Toronto. Maybe they have some place you can still-water fish.

What's the key to your scoring touch?

Repetition. Every day, being around the goalmouth. Learning the guys who I'm playing with, how they cross the ball. Day in, day out, that's important. In training, coming into a new team you have to learn those players all over again.

What's the highlight of your soccer career?

Individually, it was scoring four goals in one game in 2004. As a team, winning the U.S. Open Cup with Columbus (in 2002) even though I didn't play. I was hurt. Broke a bone in my foot.

What's been the biggest challenge?

Coming in day in and day out and executing and trying to be consistent every day. Once I'm consistent every day in training it will transfer over to the field. It's a long season. Every day you want to come in and keep things fresh. I'm definitely into keeping things new ... first-time experiences, that keeps me excited. To keep things fresh and work on new things every day, that's the beautiful thing about the game of soccer.

What's been stopping you from playing more internationally?

It's the consistency. I can score goals here (in the MLS) and then have a little drought. At the national team level they want to see consistency with your team. Going into this year, day in day out, I have to bring that if I want to last as a professional.

How close are you to being able to do that?

It's like I have the key and I have it in the lock and I'm just fiddling with it. I can't get the door open. Eventually, hopefully, I know this year will be a good year for me to do that.

Quick hits

Nike or Adidas?...Nike

Powerade or Gatorade?...Gatorade

Dinner with any three people?...Michael Jordan, Oprah and Pele

Three greatest footballers?...Pele, Maradona, Zidane

Mets or Yankees?...Yankees

Jets or Giants?...Giants

Nets or Knicks?...Knicks

Reggae or hip-hop?...Hip-hop. I like reggae but I can't keep it on my iPod because they come out with so many new rhythms. The rhythms get old real quick. High-scoring forward can cook his own supper, by Morgan Campbell

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