Artur is probably the most pleasant surprise of the 2017 season for Columbus Crew SC. Signed on loan from Brazilian giants Sao Paulo in February, the 21-year-old midfielder quickly locked his spot on the starting XI and became a key part of the team’s system.
After 20 matches with the Black & Gold, including 17 starts, Artur amassed two assists, but his contributions to the team go far beyond the stats sheet.
“It’s one of these signings that you look back on it and you are really happy it was done, because it’s such a positive impact on this club,” said head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter.
But it was not always like that. When the Brazilian first got in town, he had several different things to figure out on his first time living abroad, including the weather, the language and the new country. It was in Columbus, actually, that the Brumado native first saw snow.
“The most difficult thing, though, was to catch the physical level the other players were when I arrived,” he recalled. “I didn’t have a preseason in Brazil and when I got here, the guys were ready to play, so I had to work hard to be in the same rhythm.
“After that, the transition was smooth. When the winter was over I managed to explore the city and now I can communicate better in English, so I feel really settled here. I really like Columbus and I was positively surprised by MLS, which I didn’t follow much in Brazil. I only watched Orlando City games because of Kaká”.
On his early days, though, Artur struggled with a broken left wrist that sidelined him for three matches, but, more than that, putted the young Brazilian in a very uncomfortable situation.
“That was by far my toughest moment here,” he said of the break. “Being injured and having a surgery in a different country, without my family, and not being able to speak English was really hard. I’m glad this is in the past now and my wrist is better.”
Missing his family, though, is not an issue anymore as the midfielder now has one of his older brothers, Matheus, 25, spending some months with him in Columbus.
“It has helped him a lot,” Berhalter added. “I know he went through a point where, which is completely normal, young players are brought and it gets to a point when you start missing your home, you miss your parents, your family, your culture…Having his brother here certainly helps with that. He’s such a strong kid. He’s mentally strong and he loves being here, so all that has been good.”
Artur’s future, though, is still up in the air. With his loan contract with Crew SC expiring by the end of the season, the Brazilian could return to Sao Paulo, stay in Columbus or even be sold elsewhere.
“I really like here, but my rights still belong to Sao Paulo,” he said. “I know they will have a meeting with Crew SC to figure it out and, after that, I’ll probably have a better picture on what is going to happen. But I’m not thinking about it now, I’m only focused on our games.”