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Sunday Spotlight: Get to know Republic midfielder Ray Saari

A series where we feature the players and people behind Republic FC.

Photo courtesy of William Hodges/Indomitable City Soccer

The 2019 season is off and running, and with it, comes the first installment of Sunday Spotlight. As a handful of you may recall, we launched this series last season that features the players and people behind Sacramento Republic FC in a short 3-4 question format. It should be a fun series to do again and we’re looking forward to bringing it to you.

For our first Sunday Spotlight, we caught up with Republic FC midfielder Ray Saari, who I thought played really well in his first match with the Quails last night. He constantly pushed forward, won the ball back to keep possession and sustain the attack, and brought great energy. I think he’s going to be a key player for the Republic this season.

Not only did he perform well on the pitch, he went out of his way to shake all the hands of the media following his interview, so that should give you a small glimpse of the type of guy he is — and why the Republic wanted to bring him in.

Without further delay, here is my brief conversation with Saari:

Outstanding performance in your first match with the Republic. How did you feel out there?

I felt good you know...for a first game this season. Still trying to get my match fitness. In preseason, I got to go a couple full 90s, but I think the team did well. It’s unfortunate to drop points at home...always. Monarchs are perennially a good side in the league. They had some decent players, but I thought we had the better play on the day. Three points would have been great, but I think we’ll take the one point and head to Colorado next week.

How has your time been in Sacramento so far?

It’s been great. We’ve been busy and grinding...two-a-days, some three-a-days. I have nothing [to say] but good things. We have a great group of guys...very experienced guys, good guys in the locker room. Like I said, I have no complaints. I love it so far.

What do you think you can bring to the club?

I think in the offseason Todd [Dunivant] addressed it. [They] were looking for a little bit of tenacity. The players before I was here were great players, but I think as a whole in the group, he looked to get a little bit of that tenacity, a little bit more of a winning mentality, and you see that with the guys like the Stanford boys [Drew Skundrich and Sam Werner] and myself. I would like to bring that to the team and I hope that we can carry that mentality moving forward.

When you’re not playing soccer, what do you do to unwind?

Unfortunately, we haven’t been NOT playing. I room with Villyan [Bijev] and Elliott [Hord] and we watch a lot of footy. I’m a foody, I like to try to some new food places. I like wine, so I’m glad I signed in Sacramento [laughs]. I can’t wait to try some new places. I’ve heard nothing but great things from the boys, and like I said, I love it so far.

We’d like to thank Saari for his time and wish him well in his first season with Sacramento Republic FC. You can follow him on Twitter @ray_saari88.