Credit: David Flores / Kens5.com
Scorpions forward Pablo Campos, pictured with Manager Tim Hankinson, leads the North American American Soccer League with 11 goals and is just one shy of tying his 2011 total.
Saturday, Jul 28 at 3:59 PM
SAN ANTONIO -- Scorpions forward Pablo Campos will see some familiar faces wearing Carolina Railhawks uniforms when the teams meet in a North American Soccer League match Saturday night at Heroes Stadium.
Campos played with Carolina last year and keeps in touch with some of his former teammates, including forward Nick Zimmerman, who is tied for second in the league in scoring with nine goals.
"I still have friends there and I talk to them on the phone," Campos said. "Zimmerman is a funny guy. It's going to be a tough playing against them because I know they definitely don't want me to score."
"It's tough to score against them, but I'm going to approach it the same as I do other games. I'm going to play my game. It's going to be fun."
The Scorpions (9-3-5) and the Railhawks (6-5-6) clash at 7:30. An expansion team, San Antonio leads the NASL standings with 30 points, two ahead of second-place Tampa Bay.
Saturday night's match will be the second of the season between San Antonio and Carolina. The Scorpions beat the Railhawks for their first victory in franchise history, winning 1-0 in Cary, N.C., on April 28.
Campos has played a key role in the Scorpions' success, leading the NASL in goals with 11. With 11 matches left in the team's regular season, Campos needs only one more goal to tie his 2011 regular-season total.
Campos a native of Brazil
"He's been healthy all season so that's allowed him to stay hard at work to sharpen and be on his game," Scorpions manager Tim Hankinson said. "If you have physical setbacks, then all of a sudden you're shooting repetitions aren't up to snuff. He scores goals in a couple of different ways.
"One is through service from teammates, presenting him with an opportunity with a cross, with a pass. But, also, he has the unique ability that if the play-making isn't there for him, he's got the individual ability to make an action happen for myself, to create a goal-scoring situation out of nothing. He can beat you both ways."
Campos, 29, was born in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, and signed his first pro soccer contract when he was 12.
"For that time, I was getting $120 a month," Campos said. "But that's $120 a month 12 years ago, so it was a lot of money. I had my phone, which a lot of my friends didn't have. I always had my own money."
Campos has played in the United States since 2009, when he began his Major League Soccer career with the San Jose Earthquakes.
Traded to Real Salt Lake City halfway through the 2009 season, Campos played in 25 games in two seasons, scoring four goals and passing for five assists. He also played for Swedish club GAIS during the summer and fall of 2008.
Campos heartened by Scorpions' fan support
Hankinson said he's surprised Campos, who is 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, isn't playing in the MLS.
"He's dangerous," Hankinson said "He's got size. He's got speed. He's quick on the ball. He's quick on his release and he's shown to be deadly in front of the goal, so I think he's got a great path ahead.
"Sometimes it takes going to the major league and then things not working out, and now you know what you have to do and you climb back up. We're glad to have him. He's been a big, big player for us."
Campos said he's enjoying playing for Hankinson, 57.
"I didn't know him before I came here, but the friendship we have is one I've never had with a coach before," Campos said. "He's the kind of guy who is going to protect his players and do what needs to do.
"He expects the best from us, but he doesn't expect anything from you that you cannot give him. He's going to get the best out of you that you can give him."
The Scorpions have been a success at the gate so far, leading the NASL in attendance with an average of about 9,800 fans in eight home league matches.
"The community has been great," Campos said. "Texans support soccer. There's a big community here from Mexico. It's the first sport in Mexico and that helps us. I think they've wanted soccer in San Antonio for so long, and now that we've brought together a good team, they come to our matches and have fun. It's a good atmosphere. They make us play better."