Fresh off the high of competing in November’s World Cup in Qatar, Jonathan Osorio is back to his day job. Having signed a new three-year contract with Toronto FC in December, the 30-year-old Canadian midfielder, who holds the record for most appearances in the red shirt of the club, is set to take part in his 11th home opener Saturday evening at BMO Field, against the Columbus Crew.
Where would you most like to live?
Toronto is home. I would live here, to be honest. I’ve enjoyed the downtown for a long time now. But I think when it’s all said and done, I would like to be in a suburb somewhere. Not necessarily outside of Toronto. It could be in the Etobicoke area or more north, but I want a good chunk of land, I want my space, I want my backyard. When I have my own family, kids and stuff, that we have our space and I’m able to give them the best life of enjoying, being outside, playing, whatever they want. So for me my place is here in Toronto.
What living person do you most admire?
My father, just for everything that he’s sacrificed for us and the family. I’ve seen it firsthand, so I really enjoy that, admire that. I just admire those people that are successful, but you could never tell. They’re very humble, they’re not loud. They’re not quiet either. They’re just very sure of themselves. I admire people like that. My father, I feel, is like that.
Football clichés are legendary. What words or phrases do you find you most overuse?
Believe in yourself. I use that a lot. I don’t know if there’s a way to overuse it, but I use it a lot because I think, honestly, it’s cliché but it’s so true. And when you’re chasing your goals or whatever you want in your life, happiness, you have to believe in yourself. It’s the No. 1 thing. Without that you can’t achieve what you want. You really can’t. Unless you’re very, very lucky – and people are only so lucky in this world.
How often was that phrase used as Canada went through the journey to get to the World Cup in Qatar?
It was the phrase. I think for us it was a big word that we always used to believe in ourselves, to believe that we are capable of playing at that level and qualifying for the World Cup. That was a huge word, huge phrase used.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Playing an instrument, I think, is nice and a hobby that I wish I took up as a kid because that would have really helped me in a lot of times that I’ve gone through as an adult. Something that you can just fall back on and forget about. … Everybody has problems and everybody goes through things. So, for me, I wish I could play an instrument. I kind of go back and forth from a guitar to a piano. But one instrument I think that maybe it would be surprising to some people is a trumpet.
And as fans at BMO Field have often seen after big wins, you already play the drums.
Yeah, drums are cool as well. I’d love to really know how to play the drums. The ones I do with the [fans in the] South End, I think I’m an expert at that. So that’s fine. But when it really comes to drumming, and also the bass and moving your feet, I think that’s an amazing talent.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
That I overthink. I overanalyze things and sometimes I envy those that just live in the moment, live freely. I envy those people a lot because you live in the moment and you’re not really thinking of all these other things around. I feel like I have a little bit of that habit. And so if I could change that I would.
You’ve achieved a lot, from winning the MLS Cup to participating in the World Cup. Did you allow yourself to enjoy those moments, or was it mentally on to the next thing?
I think I enjoyed those moments. I could have maybe enjoyed it a little bit more, but the trophies and stuff I feel I enjoyed and I have very good memories of it. It’s kind of sometimes the journey that you forget, and I think that’s the beauty of reaching success, the journey, and I wish that I could just be more in the journey in that moment. And yes, it’s good to look ahead sometimes or look at the past sometimes, but as much as you can stay in that present, the more you can take with you.
What’s your most treasured possession?
My rosaries. I have a lot. They’re from different people, very important people in my life. Both my grandmothers. I have the rosary of when I left home at 16 that my parents gave me to take when I went to Uruguay. I have a lot of rosaries and I take them with me. They’re in my car, they’re over my bed. So they kind of go with me almost everywhere and just for the meaning of it and our belief that God always is looking after us, and I more so have it because I feel that I take my family with me.
Who are your favourite authors?
My favourite author is J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter. As far as books, I read all kinds of books, and lately I’ve been reading books of just self-improvement. Right now I’m reading a book called Discipline Is Destiny.
The author of that book, Ryan Holiday, writes a lot about stoicism. Is that something that interests you?
Stoicism? Yeah, a little bit. I wish I could have more of that because I’m a very emotional person, at least on the field. Off the field, I have a little bit of that. But on the field I play on my emotions. It’s how I get the best out of me but, saying that, I do wish there was a little bit more stoicism in my game, because it would help.
If you weren’t a professional soccer player, what profession would you have gone into? Did you have a fallback plan?
I didn’t, to be honest, which is risky. But I think if I could choose I would still be involved in some way, whether that’s in analytics or … I was really good with numbers. It’d be related to football, for sure, because I just love the game that much.
Which historical figure do you most identify with this?
Diego Maradona, if I can call that a historical figure. I just loved his passion for the game, and the way he played was beautiful. And yes, he had his problems as well, and I think that’s so human. He had his problems, and maybe at first you couldn’t really understand and you thought that he got caught up in the fame and everything. But also, there’s another way to look at it: that the fame was too much. And as a human, you don’t know how to deal with that when you have to watch every move and you don’t have time to really be your true self. But I think he did a really good job of being his true self a lot of the time, and his love for football I’ll never forget, and for me he’s a very important figure in my life today.