One of the additions to the 5-Stripes for the 2022 MLS season is goalkeeper Rocco Ríos Novo. The 20-year-old joined from Club Atlético Lanús on loan through December 2022. Ríos Novo is a familiar face to the 17s as he’s in his second stint with the club and has made seven starts this season.
Ríos Novo returned to Atlanta United after spending the 2021 season with Atlanta United 2, where he made 20 starts in the USL Championship and led the team with 75 saves. He made his First Team debut on April 6 in the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League against LD Alajuelense, recording six saves, setting the club’s single-game CCL record, and was named the Man of the Match as the team secured a 1-0 road win.
Prior to the 5-Stripes’ match against the LA Galaxy, we sat down with the Los Angeles native. He answered 17 questions to help our 17s get to know him better, both between the sticks as well as outside of them:
How did it feel to have your first MLS start and have the fans supporting you?
It’s beautiful, we have a beautiful fandom. I think they are a large part of what we do, a large part of our victories, our performance is thanks to them. Playing at home is always a relief because we know we can count on them to help us.
Favorite moment with Atlanta United?
I think my debut last year for the [Concacaf Champions League] cup. It was one those moments that I will never forget. A once in a lifetime moment in my life and career, it’s something I’ll never forget.
What stands out about this club compared to others?
I think the people. The people make you feel as if you were at home. From the coaching staff, the people in the kitchen and those who are at the entrance, everyone makes you feel at home.
Going forward what can this team accomplish?
Honestly, I think we can accomplish whatever we want. If we want to win the cup, we are capable. We have great players, we know we have to keep performing in the best way, keep working hard like always but this team aspires big things.
What’s something you always take with you on road matches?
Have to bring the mate, can’t be without it.
Who is a player you’d like to block a penalty kick from?
I think Messi.
What game or moment made you fall in love with Soccer?
There were many matches I watched in my previous club Lanús. I had an idol there who was a keeper, a role model for me, and I think that made me want to play soccer.
Favorite sport outside of soccer?
I like tennis. I don’t play well but I like tennis.
Asado, always asado.
Least favorite food?
I don’t like tomatoes.
Do you have any pre-match rituals?
No, I just try to not focus much because I think that being relaxed is something that helps performance. So, I try to focus, be calm and come out to the pitch as relaxed as I can.
Favorite pre-match song?
“Me vieron cruzar” by Calle 13
Three words that describe you?
Perseverance, respect, and values.
What’s your best and worst habit?
I don’t know what my best habit is, but my worst habit I think is sleeping too much. I sleep a lot.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t give up, ever. Keep going forward and trust in yourself. Trust in who you are and trust in what I can give and keep going forward.
Favorite cartoon/show growing up?