I had a chance to sit down with Edi Buro early in the season:
Tell me a little about you; first, am I pronouncing your name right? [Edi sounds like “Eddie”]
Yes, that’s actually perfect, most people when they say my name the first time they say Ee-dee, because it doesn’t have two ds and a y, so it’s good.
Where to start? I came from Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s a smaller country of former Yugoslavia in Eastern Europe. I went to high school here, in St Louis Park. In my youth, I used to play for St Louis Park teams and St Louis Park high school teams. I went to Hamline University for a year and after that I went to Europe and I played in my country for three years, in Bosnia Herzegovina Premier League. After that, I came here and I signed with Minnesota Stars now known as Minnesota United.
Do you have a large family around here?
Most of my family is back there, I came here with my mom, dad, sister, so most of the other family – like grandparents, aunts – is back there. I try to go back in the offseason or as many times as I can, because the schedule is a little bit hectic when the season starts. We start from January, playing all the way to November and there’s no days off. If you can’t go for at least 2 weeks there’s no point in it. You try to enjoy. And you try to go in the summer so you can go to the sea part, you can go to Croatia, you can go to see the beautiful side of it. If you go in the winter, it’s kind of the same weather as here; it’s colder, not as cold but a little bit colder, you know. Here winter is maybe even too cold for me. And summers are, to be honest, I’ve been in a lot of other states, and summers are beautiful here. I love Uptown side in the summers. It’s kind of European; you can sit outside, Lake Calhoun, so it’s kind of good.
What are the differences playing here vs playing in Bosnia?
The difference, soccer-wise here, here it’s all the more honest, because when you play there, you kind of… how would I say this in a nice way? It’s hard, it’s a little more corrupt, you know? For example, if you go on the road, here in Minnesota any team can come and they can beat you if you don’t play the game. But when you go to Eastern Europe, in like Bosnia and other countries around there, there’s no way you can win as a road team. It’s too hard, because it’s a little bit more physical. People play a lot more physical than here. And refereeing is… here is better; it’s more honest. It’s much more better.
Fan-wise, to be honest… the true fans, I’ll take for example Dark Clouds, they are as good as some of those fans over there. There’s some fans, the fans over there, there are a couple of clubs that have a big fan base, like that show on the road games, they go on the home games, they are good. I remember last year when we had the NASL championship here, and you see the smoke and stuff, it kind of reminds me of European atmosphere. So it’s good. And they cheer good, you know, they cheer whole games. Dark Clouds are good.
That was the disadvantage of being in the Metrodome; we couldn’t have smoke and flares, and we were a little further from the pitch.
It’s a little bit different, but still you see, for example, behind the goal you see the group of fans dressed up, painted, it gives you motivation as a player. And to be honest, it’s kind of nice to see a lot of people. I know a lot of people here, because there’s a lot of Bosnians here, eastern European people, and a lot of people know me so it’s kind of nice to see a lot of people at the game. And I know when they had Thunder here, I used to train as a kid with the Thunder teams. Kevin was then, like what? Younger, maybe like 25? I used to train with them as a training player. It grew a lot, from then to now; I had a chance to see it just blossom. Fans wise, soccer wise, everything.
For this state, I think, even though you have other sports like hockey, basketball, American football NFL, and you have baseball, too, I think soccer here is growing and in two or three years it’s going to be even bigger than it is now. Especially with a new owner and stuff it’s a lot more professional and everything is improved. It’s good. It’s good to be a player with Minnesota United these days.
Is there anything about you that the fans should know?
Something about me? [He laughs] You can ask my teammates, they can tell you more. [Travis Wall talked about Buro’s hard tackling. All hard tackles are now known as ‘being Buro’d’] Something about me? I’m easy-going, to be honest I’m a jokester, I like to joke a lot, so they know that too. And I’m always up for anything. I’m – when it’s work, work hard and work your best. When it’s time to joke, go ahead and joke. So I’m always, whatever you’re doing at the time, do it the right way, and if you’re not going to do it, don’t do it at all. And with me it’s always been, if you want something, go and get it. If you’re waiting for it, you’re never going to get it. So it’s always been, whatever you do, do it the right way and everything else will come by itself.
I’ve seen that in your play, too, (the improvement). I’m looking forward to seeing you on the pitch more this year.
Last year, I got a little bit sick, then a little more sick, with mono and stuff, so when we finished preseason here, it just kind of took over my body. So it took me two months, I didn’t even train or anything. I came to train, but it was everything around the field, nothing with the guys. Then when I came back I felt like normal Edi again.
This year, preseason started pretty good, then I got injured with my ankle a little bit, I didn’t practice for 2 weeks, and it feels good to be on the pitch again.
I think that’s going to be a good thing this season, the competition for position, because the depth is good.
Yeah, this year it’s more like… it’s a lot more kind of open, you know, so you have to bring to every practice. Every practice is like a game, like everybody’s competing. There’s a lot of good players. The team is much better than last year. So if you like competing, it’s a good place to be.
And if you don’t like competing, then that will show quickly.
Oh yeah, it’s going to show. It’s one of those … how do you… it’s a good job to have, you know, sports? It’s a lot of competitive people in it, so competing is the main thing. And like in any other job, performance is, how you perform, that’s what you get at the end. It’s a good business to be in, but it can be cruel sometimes, too, like any other.
I hope to see you guys at the game with a lot of people, and all those smoke bombs and all those flags!