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Soccer & strings

Blast mainstay Melo leading team in goals and rhythm
Jonatas Melo Baltimore Blast
Posted at 5:11 PM, Jan 25, 2022

BALTIMORE, Md. — Running amongst his Baltimore Blast teammates Jonatas Melo may be easy to miss.

"He’s the little one," said Blast forward Juan Pereira.

"He ain’t too tall," said Blast head coach David Bascome.

But one look at the season stats and the 5-foot-7, 155-pound spark plug stands out right at the top. Melo is leading the team with 10 goals in eight games.

"I’m not used to scoring a lot of goals like this season," he said.

In his eighth season with the Blast the 33-year-old is on pace for a career year. Usually a set-up man, the midfielder is now filling up the net.

"It’s great to score goals. It’s great. You’re helping the team," he said. "Scoring is more exciting than assists. But at the end of the day you’re just trying to help the team."

The Brazilian does so with his play and his personality.

"He has this way about him and he’ll show up in times where you’re like, ‘Wow. There he goes.’ You can see every goal that he scores he is jumping up because he has a passion for the game," said Bascome.

He has a bubbly way about him that also shows up outside the arena. Melo’s talents don’t only reside in his feet. When you get him off the field it’s his hands that do all the work.

"So, I play cavaquinho. It’s a Brazilian instrument that is used to play samba, the Brazilian typical music that we have there," said Melo.

With his teammate and close friend Juan Pereira on the drums, the duo often serves as the entertainment for the team. They play all sorts of team functions and road trips.

"We make good teammates outside and inside the field," said Pereira.

"As soon as he starts playing, everybody is singing," said Bascome.

"I love it because it’s happy music, summer songs. It’s really cool," added Melo.

Any thoughts about making some extra money strumming that happy music?

"I hope so, but I’m not professional," laughed Melo. "What I’m good at is playing soccer."

And that setlist just keeps getting better.

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook