SJEarthquakes.com caught up with forward Mike Fucito to talk preseason, the upcoming CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal and the Indy 500, Quakes edition. The 27 year-old striker joined the club following the 2012 season via a trade with the Portland Timbers. Sidelined for most of the 2013 season due to a foot injury, fully-recovered Fucito is excited to be back in game-shape. He has already scored in preseason, notching one against the Seattle Sounders in Tucson last week.
SJEarthquakes.com: How does it feel to be back and healthy?
Mike Fucito: It’s great. You know I think I was very unlucky last year - that second game against New York, I had that gash on my foot that kept me out for about 6 weeks. And then within three games from coming back from that, I broke my leg. I’m ready to put last year behind me. I was finally able to have a full offseason to really work hard and get in shape. I’m just excited to be back and playing soccer.
SJEQ: What did you do in the offseason?
Fucito: I spent most of the time with my girlfriend up north. We made it to Hawaii. That was probably the highlight. I got a little break from running and being in the weight room, so that’s always good. Other than that, I’ve just been working out - trying to get ready.
SJEQ: By the looks of your most recent photo with Jordan Stewart, it looks like you had some offseason training in go-karting, as well. Would you say you’re a pro?
Fucito: [Laughs] I would say I’m still a novice. Jordan definitely knew the in and outs of how to get around the track. Shea [Salinas] was probably the fastest given his aerodynamic body and light weight.
SJEQ: Who would you never want to be on the track with again?
Fucito: [Laughs] Victor [Bernardez]. His driving skills were questionable at best.
SJEQ: What are you most looking forward to this season?
Fucito: I think having a whole year with Mark [Watson], and just starting fresh. We had a great run to end the year, so just trying to piggyback off of that. And for me personally, scoring a few goals and staying healthy.
SJEQ: You’re originally from the East Coast. What’s the biggest difference living on the West Coast? Is it really the best?
Fucito: The fact that I don’t have to shovel my driveway right now I think is the biggest thing. All my friends back home are getting pounded with snow. I played golf yesterday – you know, I wear tank tops and short most days. So yeah, I think I’m a convert.
SJEQ: You’re one of the only ones of the team who has had first-hand experience playing in the later stages of CONCACAF Champions League and facing these tough Liga MX clubs. What advice do you have for your teammates?
Fucito: You know I think it’s definitely a big stage, an exciting stage. It’s a chance to match up against some of the best teams in North America. I think it’s important to take care of business at home especially because playing in Mexico can be very intimidating and very exciting at the same time. Those atmospheres are a little bit different than places in the U.S. Going in with no fear because we’re good and they know we’re good. They’re going to be good too, but it’s just another soccer game.