Whether you know him from his record-breaking season with Atlanta United 2 or from his sensational header in his MLS debut at Mercedes-Benz Stadium this summer, Nick Firmino has become the talk of the town lately. Atlanta United signed the Brazilian midfielder to a first team contract through the 2026 season, and he will officially join the team on Jan. 1, 2024.
Firmino just finished a stellar season with ATL UTD 2, scoring 16 goals in 27 appearances while also leading the team in shots, shots on goal and accurate passes. He earned a spot on MLS Next Pro’s Best XI and was named mid-season MVP.
We sat down with Firmino, and he answered 17 questions to help our 17s get to know him better.
How does it feel to have signed and officially be with the first team?
It’s exciting. I was there bits and pieces throughout the year, all preseason and then sprinkled in throughout the year. To really be a part of the team now, I’m ready to show what I’m fully capable of and fight for my place.
Looking back at the MLS NEXT Pro season, how would you describe the year, individually and as a team?
Collectively, we felt like we left some games on the table for sure, could have been a bit better. Individually, it was a really good season for me, statistically and stuff like that, and I feel like I got better as the season went on. To be recognized as one of the best players of the year and be a finalist for the MVP was very special.
In June, you were called up to play with the first team in the match against New York City FC. What were your expectations going into the match?
I wanted to make my debut for sure and just make an impact. I did score, but I wanted to make an impact regardless of the goal, just to prove that I can affect the game at this level.
What was it like scoring your first goal that night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium?
Coming in and scoring was better than I imagined. It was wild emotionally because it was a big game. We were down 2-1. Gonzo calls me over in like the 85th minute, says ‘Stay high, we need a goal.’ The game was really a blur. I went in, and basically with my first touch, I scored. And the fans were amazing.
How have your teammates, on both teams, supported you up to this point?
The guys on the 2s have helped me tremendously this year, giving me confidence to go out there and do what I do best and try to help the team, and just helping me be myself. And then ever since preseason, these guys have welcomed me, made me feel part of the team, and our relationships grow every day.
How did you first get into playing soccer?
Since I could remember, I was playing soccer. That was my dad’s dream, to play professionally. Unfortunately, he couldn’t do it, but I think he’s really proud seeing his son live out his dream.
What is your relationship like with your family?
My mom, my dad and my brother live in Boston; everybody else is in Brazil. I’m super close with my mom, dad and brother, obviously as close as I can get without seeing them. Everybody in Brazil, I just FaceTime and message them, but we’re still really close.
What was your childhood like in Brazil?
I was born in Brazil, and then when I was three, I came to the U.S. I don’t remember much, just mostly through pictures and stories from my parents. I did go back in 2019 to visit.
You frequently post the phrase “All glory to God” on your social media. How important is your religion to you?
It’s huge. I grew up in a Christian household, and my faith is something that I take everywhere with me. Every time I score, get an award, anything, just all glory and praise to God because without him, I wouldn’t be here.
Do you have any pre-match rituals or music you listen to?
I pray and read the Bible a little bit. I do listen to music. I like rap, so Drake or A Boogie.
Who is your favorite soccer player?
Neymar. Ever since I was little, he was the guy to watch. I grew up watching him, and I still do to this day.
What sports do you like to watch other than soccer?
I watch a lot of basketball. My favorite player is LeBron James.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Calm, friendly, outgoing.
What’s your favorite movie?
The Lion King, the animated, original one.
What about your favorite TV show?
Of all time? Probably SpongeBob.
Do you have a favorite food or meal?
I’d say just a traditional Brazilian meal: rice, beans, Picanha steak.
What is your biggest goal for your next few years with Atlanta United?
My biggest goal with Atlanta United is to win MLS Cup, for sure.