The New England Revolution midfielder talks about his viral video, snaking the ball and Leo Messi.
New England Revolution star Benny Feilhaber, 26, was born in Brazil to a Brazilian mother and Austrian father. When he was six, his family moved to Westchester County. He attended UCLA, after which he was tapped to play in the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands. He began his professional career in Germany playing for Hamburg, signed with Derby County in the U.K. and then with the Danish team AGF. He played on the U.S. national squad in last year’s World Cup. This year, he returned home to play Major League Soccer.
Are Brazilians intrinsically sexy?
I think so. I don’t know about me, but if you go there, you’ll see it on the beach or on the dance floor. They seem to have that aura.
I can’t samba that well, but I’m a pretty good dancer. I don’t wax
I didn’t realize I had one. Doesn’t every player get his own set of fans? But if I do, I certainly don’t mind it. It’s always good to have publicity one way or another, and I’m sure my girlfriend would get a kick out of that.
Germany. I played there for two years, and the fans in Hamburg were just amazing.
Small. It’s small for every country, but especially for us because we don’t have the same soccer history as other countries.
No. It’s good for the players for the bosses to have money. That’s how we get paid. So if the guy wants to spend his money on the team, I think it’s good for the game.
No, but it wasn’t supposed to be public. It’s funny in retrospect, but at first, I was devastated that it got out. A buddy of mine asked all his friends to post a video on Facebook, and no one was doing it. So he said to me, “If you do it, people will follow.” So I agreed, thinking only his friends could see it. Anyway, I was in China at the Olympics, and I was going to bed, so I made it and posted it. The next day, I had over 100 messages and comments. It was already on soccer blog websites.
It’s funny. I went to a Celtics/Miami Heat game, and Jordin Sparks sang the national anthem. I thought maybe she’d invite me up to sing with her, but no such luck.
Nowadays, I’d say it’s Leo Messi [the Argentinian who plays for Barcelona]. I think what he can do with the ball is just unbelievable. He’s got to be the best player in the world right now.
Definitely not. I’m really happy to be back in the States and playing MLS. Since I first made the decision to go to Europe to play, MLS has grown into an outstanding, competitive league.
The thing you always think of is it being comparable to the other big sports in terms of fan appreciation, TV and whatnot.
I can strike a ball from the top of the 18 and hit the crossbar. I can snake a ball, where your foot looks like it’s made out of rubber, and in one movement you touch the ball with both the inside and outside of your foot… and I can moonwalk.
As a pillow. I just moved into my apartment and don’t have my furniture yet, so I basically just lie on the floor and use a soccer ball as a pillow while I watch TV.
My ankles. They’re the most beat-up part of my body. But even worse is the fact that I always have trouble sleeping after a game. It’s more annoying than painful.
There are times when the team’s on a good run or I’m on a good run, I’ll try not to change a couple of things…
[Chuckles.] That’s gross. But I remember last year, I grew a mustache and then all of a sudden I was on a run where I scored like six games in a row, so I thought I couldn’t shave it off. By the fourth game I was just hoping I didn’t score, so I could get rid of it.
Oh, definitely. We’re the fittest, or close to, out of any sport. Some other sports might have better upper bodies, but the lower body’s definitely ours.
I definitely can’t play basketball because I’m no good at shooting. I can’t skate, so I can’t play hockey. I’d love to be able to play football, but I’m too small, although I was always the best in pick-up games. And in Little League I wasn’t very good at hitting, so if I played baseball, they’d have to make up a new position, like designated fielder.
A dog. I like to get along with everybody, and I’m super-friendly.
I’m probably faster than the T at rush hour, but I don’t think I could outrun a train at full speed.
Definitely. I’m way faster than those two.
Maybe come up with something like the female fans get to vote on one of the players taking his shirt off at the end, so they’ll stay tuned in.
I can bend it like Benny, which is much more important.
My girlfriend took me once because she said my feet looked hideous. I agreed, as long as she was paying. I haven’t gotten one since, but they are very nice.
Love them. I actually just got one.
[Laughs] Oh, Lord. That’s a tough one to answer. I’d hope my girlfriend would say hands, for sure. I guess it would have to be my feet, but maybe hands are most improved?
Credits: Photographed by Guido Vitti; wardrobe stylist: Melissa Damelio/Team the Agency; hair stylist: Jesse Heroux/Marc Harris Salon; makeup: Dianna Quagenti/Camerareadycosmetics.com; clothing: Nike/Niketown