Decio Lopes on "Making History" with Orlando City Soccer
What You Will Learn In This Episode:
Today’s episode is with Decio Lopes. Decio works with Orlando City Soccer and happens to be the Director of an amazing film that premiered in 2015 at a film festival here in Orlando called “Making History.” I live in Orlando as most of you know and am a big fan of Orlando City Soccer, so I had to have Decio on the show. I reached out to him for an interview and he originally had to turn me down because he did not feel 100% comfortable speaking with me in English, so I reached back out again with my good friend Natalia, who is bilingual and happens to be the biggest Orlando City fan in all of Central Florida. Her and her husband have been to all the games and have been season ticket holders since day one. These people bleed purple folks! So with Natalia on board to do the interview for me in Spanish, Decio agreed to talk with me. So as you might guess, today’s podcast is completely in Spanish, but if you visit leangreendad.com in the podcast section, you can find a full transcript of the interview in English, so check it out if English is your first language. It was an awesome interview and he is a great man. Now back to the film. As I said, the film is called Making History and it is a documentary about this amazing football club’s journey to the MLS and follows them through their very first MLS game. So without further ado, here is my interview, well Natalia’s interview….with Decio Lopes from Orlando city soccer.
Items Mentioned In The Podcast:
- Decio’s Movie Trailer for “Making History” – HERE
- The movie will be available during the 2016 season of Orlando City Soccer to all season ticket holders!
N-Nice to meet you Decio!
D-Nice to meet you Natalia! Thanks for being a fan of the club. I’m very happy to speak with you, especially because you like Orlando City so much. We already have a channel of communication.
N-Yes, we definitely have something in common! Ha! I’d like to begin by asking, what your inspiration, or reason was for making the film?
D-I had arrived to Orlando, about a year prior and began learning about Orlando City, and their march towards the MLS. I arrived to Orlando, it was a group of 4 of us. I’ve worked with soccer for 25 years. I’ve worked as a reporter with great [soccer] clubs with the largest clubs that have 120 + years of history. But this experience in Orlando, after arriving just a couple weeks in, I noticed the experience was very interesting and special. I’ve been around a lot of clubs, but I’ve never been a part of a club that is simply being born. We were about 25 days away from the first MLS game for Orlando City. That is something that is truly special! I called the COO of Orlando City, Fred Pollastri, and mentioned how you don’t usually have this type of opportunity. Just imagine if great clubs like, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, if their was a type of documentation of their first day, their first game as a professional club? We have this opportunity! So, I called Fred Pollastri, and I said, “Lets a film, a documentary about this moment!” I feel this is more important, not to the current fans, but for the future fans of 50, 60, 70 years from now. I feel this club will have a long and fantastic history. To think, I won’t be here, but this documentary will be around is what truly motivated me to do the documentary. Perhaps in 50, 60, 70 years, a fan will have the joy to see the first days of Orlando City.
N-Wow! Incredible! Its incredible to think, as a current fan, I watched the film and could see the passion you brought to it. I hadn’t even thought of 70 years from now, there will be fans that will see this film and will be able to have the same experience that we are having right now.
D- Yes, for example, if you think of a New York Yankee fan, it isn’t only in soccer, but in all sports, the teams that are oldest and most popular, think of how marvelous it would be for a fan to have 45 minutes about the first day, the first match. I really think this will be something historic and very important in the future. Today, I’m very happy to have made the film, but what really brings me joy is to think the fans of the future will have the opportunity to view it.
N-Of course! You were able to interview all the key players in the front office, the president, the owners, the coach what is it that you wanted to see from all those that surround the players?
D-We were in a really interesting moment because the first match hadn’t been played. So the most important thing was the story and that didn’t really include the players or the superstars. The story is with all the people who created it all. I think that’s very important. Think of the guy who created FC Barcelona or Real Madrid- how important is that guy! The immense contribution he made, not only for sports worldwide but also to the Catalan, Spanish, and European culture. These are huge contributions! I tried speaking with all the people that began from nothing more than an idea, and I think that’s fantastic! It was only an idea. The idea of wanting to create something, not just for yourself, but also for a future, for a community, for a whole society.
N- Yes, since Orlando City has been here, and their first year of them being in the MLS, you can really see the difference in our community. So, like you say, if this is one year of change, I can only imagine what it will be like in 40 years. How was the filming process and how long did it take to create the film?
D- It took us about three to four months maybe a little longer for effects and finishing, but just about. The filming was only about 10 days because we didn’t have a lot of time. The first match was nearby and when we had the idea, the first match was about 20 days away.
N-Wow! I can imagine the emotion while filming. But it is truly felt in the film, the anticipation that everyone had while you were filming.
D-Yes, and I feel a really important part was the decision to not let people know when they were going to be interviewed. We didn’t schedule the interviews. We just arrived. Myself, the cameraman, and maybe two others arrived to Phil Rawlins’ office, the President of the club. We didn’t let him know much. I asked for 15-20 minutes to chat (we of course took longer, like half an hour.) But we’d say, “Do you have 15-20 minutes to speak with us? We are doing a few interviews about the first match.” And they’d say, “Ok, yeah, of course.” But he didn’t know we were imagining a film nor did he expect us. We came unannounced and I feel that was really important because the people we interviewed didn’t have a lot of time to elaborate much. They didn’t have time to elaborate a long discussion. I wanted the emotion; I wanted the truth. I wanted what they’d say to a friend, not what would be elaborated through the vice president of communications or something that sounded like a press release. I feel, myself included, if you have lots of rehearsal and time to think about the questions and elaborate in your head, you lose some of the naturalness and the truth. This was a decision we came up with and we surprised them and received all of the interviews without giving them very many details. I felt this way we obtained a lot more information.
N- That is excellent and so very interesting! How did you acquire all the footage from years ago when Orlando City was in Austin, Texas? How did you get all the footage, because you had some of Phil and Kay in their kitchen?
D-Yes! Well, luckily the club has an archive of images and there are some pictures of the first meetings and the first matches when they were in the minor league. But I also asked and searched in the family archives and the family albums that may have some pictures. I’d ask for family members to look a little more if possible to see if there was something they missed or was with a friend. That’s how we found a lot of footage from Phil, Kay, and Adrian. The club had a lot, but we also searched for footage in that way.
N-How do you feel the organization has changed the city of Orlando and the MLS?
D-I feel it’s a great job, not just the organization. Perhaps the organization is the engine, but the great change happens with the community, with residents, and with the lawmakers. The club is the engine or the catalyst, but everyone is participating and enjoying being a part of having another major league sport. For many, soccer is the sport of the future in America. There is a great love for the sport and the newer generations are becoming passionate like the rest of the world. Soccer is the world-game. I feel that the most important sport has arrived to the market that is most important. I find myself very content and feel that it will bring many positive things. We already see that in Orlando.
N- It’s obvious with my kids. I have two young boys and they both play soccer. More and more kids are playing soccer and that makes more and more generations loving soccer.
D- I feel its very important to have a club in the major league and to have the great stars like Kaka, and Brek and Cyle Larin. These are players that provide good role models for our future generations. It gives them more desire to continue enjoying soccer. I feel sports are a healthy path for our youth.
N- Decio, I’m about to finish, but I want to ask what else will we see from you? Will you make another film, or are you working towards another film?
D-There are a lot of plans, films included and perhaps a yearly documentary. But there are a lot of new things coming this year. Right now we have the broadcast of the matches, but also a pregame an post game show, as well as a weekly show. That gives the club more information about Orlando City.
N- I have a friend and she says, “I want to know more and hear more about their day to day lives.” Each player has his/her own story.
D-Many come from poor communities and diverse countries and are really fantastic stories that may be in a documentary for the fans in the future.
N-Perhaps a documentary on “Making of the Stadium?”
D-Oh yes! That’s a great story! Great suggestion! The first game in the new stadium and perhaps a sold out match?
N-Perhaps? We’ll see.
D-After “fill the bowl” it will be “fill the new bowl”
N-Exactly, yeah! Well, its been a pleasure speaking with you Decio.
D- The pleasure is all mine and I love being able to contribute a bit to this special podcast.
N-Thank you! Thank you! The pleasure is all ours!!