The world’s best indoor soccer (futsal) player, Sergio Lozano, combines his professional sports career with the Master in Sports Management at Johan Cruyff Institute
His power, speed, scoring capabilities and explosive playing have earned him to be considered the best indoor soccer player in the world. He’s popularly known as ‘The Buffalo’, but off the futsal court he’s simply Sergio Lozano. The Barça Alusport player combines his sports career with academic education. While still in Madrid he completed his university entrance exam and began a degree in Physical Activity and Sports Sciences and a Level 2 Coaching certificate in indoor soccer. Now in Barcelona, he’s a student of the Master in Sports Management at Johan Cruyff Institute.
In this interview, we’ll find out what his personal aspirations are, and the ‘Buffalo’s’ calm side.
Does the best indoor soccer player in the world have to study?
Well, I think everyone needs to be educated, it’s important. Unfortunately for us, sport has an expiration date that comes too soon, and when we reach a certain age, at thirty-something depending on the player, you must keep on going and work. As long as you educate yourself continually, you’ll have more chances in the business world once you’re done.
What studies do you have?
I began a degree in Physical Activity and Sports Sciences in Madrid; and when I came to Barcelona I continued, but that change meant having to go to class in person, I couldn’t miss any classes and had to have 80% attendance, and that made me park the degree to the side, although it is a degree I want to complete. Then I began the coaching course up to Level 2, and then the opportunity to study the Master arrived which was very attractive to me because it brings everything in sport together, and as soon as it’s finished I’ll continue studying other things.
What attracts you to the Master that you’re studying here?
What attracted me the most was being able to view sport from another point of view. I’m a player, and players are selfish, we don’t want to see it from the other side and I wanted to understand it from the manager’s position. It’s a way to learn and the more academic training I have to continue being linked to sport, the better.
What’s your day-to-day like?
To be honest, these six months have been hard since you dedicate your life daily and professionally to sport, which is how you make your living day-to-day, you don’t have all the time in the world to dedicate to studying, but I try to take time out when travelling or from stages (sportive events) and I’m organizing myself rather well; I have the help of fellow classmates who fill me in when I can’t attend classes and that’s important. But I try to get it all done, as hard as it is, but it can be done.
There are a lot of people in the club that manage your day-to-day in the team. What do you value the most of the people that work for you?
For me, the closeness, treatment and affection with which you do things are essential. For me there is no distinction between player and staff in the treatment of them or of club employees; it’s all the same to me if it’s the team’s kit man, goalkeeper, whatever. For me, when you walk onto the court you have a role, but outside we are all people and I try to make their lives as pleasant as possible. It’s clear that I’m a player of character and from time to time I grunt, but I try to make them feel comfortable.
What’s a good leader?
Someone who makes others better in every aspect. There are many types of leadership, and there are those that are on the court and off the court, it doesn’t have to be the same one and that leader comes out involuntarily, he just is and people follow him. For me, he has to be a good manager, one who looks after the team members.
Indoor soccer is one of the most practiced sports in Spain. Why do you think it’s still hard to attract more spectators?
With football you can’t compete because it’s the king of all sports and no one can compete with that. But I can speak from my experience: in the four years that I’ve been at Barça, we’ve seen a substantial increase in audience; we’re one of the sections that people most come to watch and above all because we’ve tried to connect with the fans. The people that come to see us are surprised that we’re so close to them; we end each match and say hello to all the fans that stay on the court, we’re the last ones to leave. We try to make them see us as close, and not coming from that world where you can’t get close to your idols. We want to connect with those people, so when they come and watch indoor soccer they have a good time.
What are your plans for the future?
On a personal level, I’d like to have a family, have kids, I’m a homebody. On a professional level, I’d like to be linked to indoor soccer as well as sport; I’m passionate about it, I enjoy it, I don’t care if I have to dedicate a bunch of hours a day and I try to follow all sports, not just mine. That’s how I’d like to remain linked to sport and hopefully I’ll be able to study a lot and educate myself to continue making a living through it.
Video images courtesy of Barça TV