NICK LEYDEN - Thursday, September 8, 2011
After bouncing between the MLS and the USL for the past few seasons, Caleb Patterson-Sewell signed with Atlético Clube de Portugal this summer in what he describes as a nearly ideal situation.
The 24 year old goalkeeper has spent the majority of the past three seasons with the Carolina Railhawks and Miami FC, though he also had a brief stint with the New York Red Bulls.
During this past off season, however, Patterson-Sewell had made up his mind that Europe would be his next destination.
"I knew I was wanting to be in Europe this season no matter what," he recently told YA. "I just needed to find the right club for me where I could play and see minutes. I didn't want to be a guy that came to Europe just to make up numbers and rot on the bench" he added.
For Patterson-Sewell that right club turned out to be Atlético, a suburban Lisbon team which had just been promoted to the Liga Orangina.
In addition to potential playing time Atlético's biggest draw for the dual American-Australian citizen was the new coach, Joăo de Deus.
"I had quite a lot of interest here in Portugal but I was advised about Atlético being the best place for me as the coach here is one of the best young coaches in the country," he said.
So far the move has certainly worked out for both the team and Patterson-Sewell, as Atlético currently sit in first place after three games, having won twice and tied once.
Patterson-Sewell has started all three games, conceding just a single goal via a penalty kick.
Despite being named Man of the Match once already, the modest ‘keeper was quick to credit his teammates and coaching staff for the success.
"I would say the reason we haven't conceded is because we have been well drilled with what to expect from the opposition during the week; and also we are very organized. Everyone knows their role and we are well prepared during the week," he told YA.
Patterson-Sewell believes that Portuguese tactics also may be contributing to the low scores, despite having players with strong technique.
"The level of play is very good. Technically they are superior to those back in the States, however, in the States they are far more athletic. I would say in the States it's more of a direct style of play, where here they really like to get on the ball and move it about. Training here has been a little different too. It is so tactical here. I guess this is why you see close games and so far there haven't been any blowout score lines," he explained.
While Patterson-Sewell and crew are confident after their first three games he remains grounded about their prospects for the rest of the season, noting that simply avoiding a relegation fight would be a step in the right direction.
"I think the goal for any team getting promoted is to remain in the league no matter what. That is our first goal and objective and that for many would be considered a success," he said. "However, as we go along seeing where we are at, I'm sure the guys are quietly confident of achieving more. At the moment there shouldn't be a limit as to how far this group of guys can go, but we always have in our minds the minimum target, staying in the league."