Gokulam Kerala FC have completed their second foreign signing of the season, roping in Puerto Rican midfielder Adriana ‘Tuti’ Tirado as they gear up to represent India at the AFC Women’s Club Championship in November.
Adriana Tirado started her football journey with Pumas de Roosevelt FC in Puerto Rico where she quickly established herself as a bright prospect. She later played for her university team in the USA for the New Mexico and Saint Leo University. During her time in the United States, she earned her bachelor’s degree while also playing football in the university league.
After returning to her homeland, the 23-year-old playmaker from San Juan featured for teams like Caribbean Stars and Bayamon FC. Adriana has also played for the Puerto Rico national team and is considered as one of the finest players in her country currently.
In an exclusive interview with IFTWC, Gokulam Kerala’s Adriana Tirado shares her views on representing her country, playing for the Kerala club in the AFC Women’s Championship, Indian culture, and more…
You are the first Puerto Rican footballer to join an Indian team. How does it feel to be representing your nation in Asia?
” Definitely, it’s a dream come true to be able to represent Puerto Rico in Asia. It has been a long journey full of amazing experiences and I had never imagined that I will be able to carry Puerto Rico’s name into Asian football and I hope to continue to represent my country through this beautiful game. “
This is your first team after signing a professional contract. How important is this move for your professional career?
“This is the first big step in my professional career. It will open up many opportunities to continue to develop my game and gain a lot of experience. I believe that being able to represent Gokulam and India at the AFC Women’s Club Championship will open an entire room of possibilities for me to continue to grow and watch my professional career expand. “
How much of an impact did your first club Roosevelt FC have in shaping you as the player you are now?
” Pumas de Roosevelt FC is my first love. The club that gave me everything to dream big and be here today. I am beyond thankful to the people who helped me and guided me through the right path. It not only shaped me as a player but also built me as a person. The values of respect, dedication and love for the colors and shield that I will wear all came from Pumas de Roosevelt. Because of them, today I can represent Gokulam Kerala FC with pride and honor. “
How important do you think your role will be for Gokulam Kerala FC in the upcoming season?
” I hope that I can impact Gokulam Kerala in the best way possible and bring all my energy, football and joy into this competition. On the field, I believe my role will be as important as my teammates, my target being to be able to work with them and through them in order to achieve the main goal. “
What made you choose India as your next destination?
” As players we always dream to represent a club that matches our values and goals in life and Gokulam Kerala is that club for me. India as a country has always been a culture that I admire and being able to experience such an amazing country through football is a one time opportunity. I believe that being here will give me a life changing experience to become better on and off the field and because of this I chose India as my next destination. “
You have been in the national team for a while now. How do you assess the team’s performances and what does the future look like for Puerto Rico?
” Puerto Rico as a country has grown into football in a very positive way in the last couple of years. The Puerto Rico National Team have improved in many ways and we are still developing with a bright future ahead of us. We are an island with lots of talented players and most importantly with a unique love for the country that helps us fight for our flag in each game.
With some adjustments from the federation I can say that today we are looking into a good developing program which will allow us to be a very competitive country. This year we have had a couple of FIFA friendly games which are helping us build our team for the World Cup Qualifiers. Recently we defeated Guyana 6-1 which has had a positive impact into our next competition. “
Tell us a bit about your plans apart from football. You are also pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology.
” Apart from football I graduated from Saint Leo University with a bachelor’s degree in Clinical Psychology. After my bachelors I decided to continue my education at the doctoral level in clinical psychology. I am very passionate and have lot goals after finishing my doctorate. I see myself in a multidisciplinary clinic where the target population will be the communities that don’t have the best resources available. “
Do you think your move to Gokulam Kerala will inspire more young women from Puerto Rico to play abroad professionally?
” I believe that my move to Gokulam Kerala will inspire many players in Puerto Rico to continue their football career at the professional level. My main goal is to show that it is possible and to open more doors for Puerto Rican football around the world. “
Did you get any other offers from other foreign clubs? If yes, why did you choose Gokulam over those clubs?
” Yes, I had other offers from other clubs. When Marcos Ruano, my agent from Wingmen Sports, told me about the project of women’s football at Gokulam Kerala I didn’t have to think twice about what my next club will be. Knowing that we were going to play in the AFC women’s club championship also a motivation for me because I know the importance and the great opportunity that this tournament presents. It was easy to decide to come here and be part of this special and pioneer project in India. “
What are your personal goals for this season?
” My personal goals are to improve and level up my game but most importantly to adapt and help the team in the best way possible to achieve success together. “
What is your message for the fans in India?
” Firstly I would like to thank everyone for welcoming me into India and for all the love and support that I have received. I want to tell everyone that I will do my best to bring all the glory to the country and club. “
The midfielder has a reputable track record with her national team and all the clubs she has been with before. Signing an active overseas national team player goes to show how Gokulam Kerala are keen to enrich their squad ahead of the continental competition.
The signing of Adriana is also a big step towards professionalism in women’s football in India. Gokulam have also added another foreigner in their squad as in Ghanaian forward Elshaddai Acheampong. They had also earlier signed Myanmar national team striker Win Theingi Tun. Adriana’s inclusion brings a new flavor to the squad and Gokulam Kerala will have their hopes pinned on the Puerto Rican as they aim for a good outing in the Asian competition. The competitive nature of the tournament featuring the best teams in the continent will also benefit her on a personal level and help her to improve as a player.
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