OBETZ, Ohio – Having played on two continents prior to coming to the Columbus Crew this year, Brazilian defender Gláuber has experienced a variety of playing styles and cultures in 12 prior seasons as a professional.
But he told MLSsoccer.com this week that MLS presents a whole new set of challenges for the 29-year-old center back.
"The soccer is a little different," he said. "It's really quick. It's played with a lot of power. You have to make the adaptation quickly because the team can't wait for you Here we play a lot of 1-v-1 in the back. In the other countries, the defense is always one free man in the back, but this is a positive because we can play one more player in the midfield."
Chad Marshall, his partner in the four-back formation, can understand why Gláuber feels the way he does, in part because the Crew are bent on getting outside backs Tyson Wahl and Josh Williams into the attack as much as possible.
"It's a physical league with a lot of 1-v-1 battles," Marshall said. "I can see how he would think that, especially with the way we're trying to play this year and really get Tyson and Josh forward. That leaves me and him a lot of times 1-v-1 with their forwards."
Gláuber started his career with Brazilian club Atlético Mineiro, where he spent three seasons before going another three at São Paulo giants Palmeiras. He then made the move to Europe, spending three seasons in the Bundesliga with FC Nürnberg and one season in the English Premier League on loan to Manchester City, where he played just six minutes.
That was followed by a short stint back in Brazil (São Caetano) and then two-and-a-half seasons playing for Romanian club Rapid Bucharest before signing with Columbus in January.
"It's still a feeling-out process for him," Williams said. "Even though he has a lot of experience overseas, it's a different type of league here. It's athletic and fast."
Gláuber's transition has been aided by speaking English and a willingness to learn.
"He's played a lot of different systems with a lot of different guys," Marshall said. "I'm sure it's easy for him to see what guys are like and where he needs to be.
"He talks a lot, too. He wants your opinion about the game. He's very open and receptive. I tell him tendencies of the guys coming in and if they make changes I'll say, 'Hey, he favors his left,' or 'He's a speedster.'"
Gláuber, for his part, appreciates how he's been received by his new teammates.
"I feel at home because the Americans are good guys. They talk a lot," he said.
He has only one complaint about life in Columbus, "The weather, all the time it's changing. It's hot. Now it's cold again."
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