Aly Alberto Hassan recently returned to the Strikers following a loan to Bolivian side Club Aurora. We caught up with the Strikers #99 to talk about his experiences abroad.
Q: What was the experience of arriving like?
A: “It was great from the moment I got there. I got out of the airplane and there were news reporters at the airport waiting for me. Everyone received me really well, and everything was very professional. It was a great way to start.”
Q: What was it like playing at high altitude?
A: “The altitude is a huge difference. When I first got there, it was like playing in outer space, there was no air. In my first two friendlies I scored three goals, but I could only play for 10 or 15 minutes at first. It took me about a month to get acclimated, but once I got used to it, it started getting better and easier.”
Q: Were there any difference in the way the game is played?
A: “Well, soccer is soccer, no matter where you play. Over there it was more technical, and here I think it’s faster and more physical.”
Q: What were your teammates like?
A: “My teammates really supported me. They showed me how the game is played in Bolivia. They took me in and helped me excel over there.”
Q: How did you improve your game?
A: “I learned a lot about the way to pressure, and how to conserve energy doing it. In Bolivia, pressuring is more controlled, done as more of a unit. As a forward, it started with me and when I decided to be more vocal on the field. I learned a lot on the defensive side of my game which I think is going to help me become a better player.”
Q: Is the role of a forward different in Bolivia?
A: “I think so, but at the end of the day a forward’s job is to score goals. Now that I’m back with the Strikers I have to take what I’ve learned and use it to score goals and win games.”
Q: What was the atmosphere inside the stadiums like?
A: “I got to play in front of 30,000 people on multiple occasions, which was a first for me. You have half of them supporting you and the other half killing you. Before you experience it, you don’t really know what it’s like. It’s a feeling that you don’t forget, something that sticks with you.”
Q: Thoughts on the Strikers team this season?
A: “We have a good team and we can be a championship team if we keep working. We might not have had the best start, but it’s not over yet.”