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ATLANTA, GEORGIA—A veteran member of the Atlanta United believes the recent defeats of the team, including an embarrassing 0-3 thrashing by the visiting Austin FC on July 9 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, could be attributed to the player’s dedication to the team and not necessarily the injuries suffered by some of the top players of the team.

Venezuelan striker Josef Martinez, part of the MLS champion team in 2018, said injuries are normal in any league; what matters is the heart and passion of the players to play for their team, especially during home games. “The injuries isn’t the biggest problem. We play soccer, and you can have injuries every day. And some people still think, “oh, because we lost this guy, this guy…” We all make mistakes, and we are professionals. We’re not kids anymore. And if you come here, you have to know what you have to do. And if you don’t come here for 100 percent, probably you don’t have to choose to play at this club. That’s the message for everyone. If you want to brings guys here, it’s because they want to play here, and it’s not because of business, and that’s been happening for a long time,” Martinez said.

Martinez said he still has a year left in his contract with the team and wants to stay, but if the team has other plans, he fully understands it since it is part of life. “I still have one year. I enjoy every day because I have to say “thank you, God,” bringing me back to the field. I try to do my best. Sometimes I can play good, sometimes not. Sometimes I can score, sometimes not. I put my whole body on the fucking field, which is not discussed. But, you know, it’s soccer, it’s life. Probably this team needs more different players, and we think about it,” Martinez added. United hopes to get back on its feet when they host the Orlando City SC for Heineken Rivalry Week on Sunday, July 17.