Firmino And His Play Style
Nicolas Firmino and I chatted on Thursday about his play style and where he thinks he fits in most football teams. Firmino is a firm standard in the middle of the field, generally fitting in as an attacking midfielder. When we talked about his fitting into a team, he mentioned the box to box midfielder role as well. He feels that he has a "quality on the ball that can help the team". He wants to help out whatever team he's a part of, "do whatever he can offensively and defensively."
Free kick goals were a specialty during the 2020 season. Speaking on that, Nick talked to me about his favorite goal that he had this year. "I would have to say the free kick". Firmino scored a beautiful retribution goal against Ft Lauderdale CF which ended up goal of the week in Week 13. "There was one that I scored before and it was disallowed," he noted. There was another great free kick that Nicolas had against Union Omaha. It ended up called off due to the movement in the wall. Firmino added "So that one was really special".
I asked him where he developed the skill on the free kicks. "Just practice, hours and hours of practice," he pointed out to me. "I've always wanted to be the one to take free kicks and penalties for my team." He definitely put a large amount of hours into them, it was "something he practiced since he was little".
Nicolas, The Field General
Firmino was an armband-wearing captain this year only once. Although while on the Revolution II, Nick was an integral part of the team with great instincts for helping others out with the flow of the game. When he was playing for them, Clint Peay was asking the team to practice "whole team defense". I asked him where he felt he fit in that. "Well, we played a high tempo game, so we pressed teams,..." he told me. "I feel that is a quality of mine as well, being able to help the team press defensively". He pointed out that he felt he could help "as a leader, helping the team with communication". Nick enjoys being a centrally located general overseeing the soccer field.
Coach Clint Peay had an ideal location for Nicolas Firmino at the beginning of the year. "We expected Nick to provide some on the field leadership whether that be by the way he plays or vocally". It seems as though that Firmino filled those boots perfectly for Peay. He was able to dish out nearly 800 passes on the season. Of those passes, he was accurate approximately 80 percent of the time, meaning he completed 640 connections during the regular season in USL League One.
Nicolas Firmino, The Free Agent
Nick and I talked about his future. Firmino had been a part of the Revolution Academy since he was 13. He signed to the Revolution first team as the second-youngest homegrown to Diego Fagundez. He came into a Revolution team coached by Brad Friedel in 2018. The day after the Revolution lost out on their chance at the MLS Cup there were some hard roster decisions to be made by Sporting Director Bruce Arena. Arena ultimately made the decision to not exercise Nicolas Firmino's option.
The players on the team seemed to resonate with Firmino a lot more. "I feel like the vets helped a lot, especially guys like Scotty and Teal", he mentioned to me. They helped him not only from a football standpoint but towards being a professional. They would get on his level because they were in Nick's place once. If being the "new, young guy in the locker room" was tough for Firm, they helped level him out and "set a good example". Bou and Gil weren't often available for big speeches or communication. Firmino told me that they taught by their attitude towards training. "I learned from the way they approached training and how serious they take it."
On The Contract Table
In the end, Firmino was candid about his current situation with the Revolution. "I don't think so," he answered when asked whether the Revs were planning to bring him back. That being said, he's very grateful for the time with the Revolution. "I've been in the Revolution Academy since I was 13, that's six years now." The Revolution academy and the first team contract was a help in sculpting Nick into a great player. Firm has "nothing but thanks and nothing but love" for the Revolution. His career started off with New England but he said he feels it's "time for us to go our separate ways." With all that behind him, he told me "I'm excited for what's next."
I also asked whether he was able to give forward information on whether he had contracts on the table. He declined the opportunity to do so, citing "That's not something I'd like to share right now, just because it's so uncertain". Firmino described that he is absolutely "excited for the future" after letting me know "it's really early and he doesn't want to get into anything".
My Two Cents
Nicolas was on the Team of the Week during the 2020 season a total of three times. Firmino was Player of the Week in Week 13 this season in USL League One with the Revs II. That same week, he won the honor of goal of the week due to his great free-kick against Ft. Lauderdale. He was a nominee for the 2020 Young Player of the Year award in the USL League One. He also managed to gather up the Golden Boot for the team in 2020, tying Justin Rennicks for the honor, but winning it due to his two assists. Firmino gained a well-earned spot on the USL League One All-League Second Team this year with the Revolution II.
In my opinion and what seems to be most of the #NERevs hashtag, whatever team that decides that they want to scoop up Nicolas Firmino this off-season would find a player with fans behind him. Nick is willing to train hard and play harder. Also, they'll get a footballer that enjoys showing the fans what Firmino and his family would call "o jogo bonito".