It has been a month since Pedro Santos landed in Ohio as Columbus Crew SC’s third Designated Player. Over the last 31 days, the Portuguese completed each and every step needed for his adaptation to the club and Major League Soccer.
The final, and perhaps most important, piece of the puzzle came together last week, when his wife Ana and their son, three-year-old Martin, moved to Columbus to join Pedro.
“Everything feels great now,” Santos told Massive Report. “Having my family here means a lot to me. It’s amazing to get back home after practice and have them with me. We are starting to explore the city a little more, going shopping and having dinner out eventually. Last weekend we took Martin to the zoo and he loved it”.
Conhecendo a cidade pic.twitter.com/xa0j2qZ8ER— Pedro miguel santos (@Pedro32santos) September 5, 2017
But Columbus was not everything the Portuguese winger got to know better after a month in town. He’s also more familiar with his teammates now and, as he admitted, some of them really impressed him over the past weeks.
“I didn’t know much about the roster before I got the offer,” he admitted. “Then I did some research and I noticed that everybody said Higuain was the best player of the team. And I have to be honest, he really impressed me. I didn’t expect he would have so much quality, he’s a great player.
Artur and Abu also surprised me.”
The Brazilian Artur is Pedro’s closest friend in Crew SC’s locker room. The fact that they can communicate in Portuguese was obviously very helpful as Pedro adjusted to the new country and the new club without his family in the first weeks.
“I’m obviously very close to Artur since we speak the same idiom, but I can also connect pretty well with the Spanish-speaker players as I know a little bit of the language,” Pedro explained.
With everything in place, the 29-year-old winger, a fan of both the Brazilian and the Portuguese Ronaldos, feels ready to show his best soccer in a crucial moment for Crew SC, as the regular season heads to its last weeks and the team fights to advance to the MLS Cup playoffs.
“In the beginning, things were a little rushed to me,” he recalls. “I had to deal with the issuing of my visa and had to play right after that and it tired me a little bit. But these past two weeks without matches were really good to rest and to accelerate my adaptation with the team and the city. Now I feel settled and I believe there’s nothing stopping me from showing my best.”
Head coach Gregg Berhalter shares the same opinion. Aware of the process necessary to integrate foreign players to the club and the league, he cannot wait to see the best from Pedro in the upcoming matches.
“It was important to get him through the initial adaption period,” Berhalter commented. “He’s coming over to a new country, he’s had some time off with his visa getting issued, and it was choppy. We wanted to play him anyway and he battled through some performances, but now he has some rhythm and some training behind him. I think he’s going to continue to grow.”
In just 157 minutes in a Crew SC jersey, Santos already showed some flashes of his quality and recorded an assist against the LA Galaxy. If that could mean a good start for many players, to the Portuguese it is nothing compared to what he plans to accomplish on his MLS journey.
“I came here because I wanted to prove myself outside Portugal,” he explained. “I want to leave my mark in MLS. The league is growing, some great players are here and I want to help Crew SC to succeed and win the league.”