Gabriel Andrade, the translator for Saint Louis Athletica's Brazilian coach Jorge Barcellos, might have the toughest job on the team. Barcellos speaks little English, so Andrade relays everything Barcellos says in Portuguese to his team, in film sessions, in practice, during games, in one-on-ones with players. Sometimes this can get complicated, like when Barcellos says, "A bird who goes along with bats sleeps upside down." He means, of course, "You have to do what you know, and not what other people know."
"It's easy to translate his passion," Andrade said. "It's his sayings that get complicated." Barcellos lives and breathes soccer. He sleeps only a few hours each night in between practices, watching games, making plans, and playing soccer with his kids. "Soccer for me is fun," Barcellos said. "You have to see your life in a serious manner, always in a committed way, a rational way. But it's got to be fun. Imagine if I always came here with an angry look on my face. My day wouldn't be good."
If Barcellos' words don't always translate well, his passion for the game does. His players have responded to the mix of joy and professionalism he exudes. After starting 0-2-2, the Athletica had the best record in the league for the remainder of the season, finishing in second place. On Wednesday, the Athletica hosts Sky Blue FC of New York in the WPS Super Semifinal on Fox Soccer Channel at 7 p.m. ET. The winner advances to the league's championship game Saturday in Carson, Calif., against the Los Angeles Sol.