Tatu came to the United States after playing with São Paulo in 1981. He had intended to play for several months, earning enough money to buy a house in São Paulo.
Tatu signed with the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the NASL during the 1981-82 indoor season and scored a hat trick in his first appearance even though he hadn't yet had the opportunity to practice with his new club. He quickly became a fan favorite while playing several more outdoor and indoor seasons in Tampa Bay.
The NASL folded 1984, and Tatu moved to the Dallas Sidekicks of Major Indoor Soccer League. When Tatu moved to Dallas, the Cleveland Force sued the Sidekicks, arguing they had an agreement with him to purchase his contract from the Rowdies. The Sidekicks eventually gave the Force their second round 1985 draft choice. As a Dallas Sidekick he was a part of all four Sidekick's championship teams (1987, 1993, 1998, 2001). From 1984 until 1992, the Sidekicks played in MISL. The league collapsed in 1992 and Dallas moved to the newly created Continental Indoor Soccer League until that league also collapased in 1997. The CISL played during the summer and Tatu spent the 1993-1994 indoor season with the Wichita Wings of the National Professional Soccer League.
In 1998, the Sidekicks competed in the Premier Soccer Alliance. The PSA became the World Indoor Soccer League in 1999. In 2002, Dallas entered the newly reconstituted Major Indoor Soccer League.
Tatu is a well-respected sports figure in Dallas. Tatu's community involvement includes running many soccer camps in the Dallas area. When the Olympic Torch came through Dallas for the 2002 Salt Lake City games, Tatu had the honor as serving as the Torch Bearer.
In 1998, he replaced Gordon Jago as the head coach of the Dallas Sidekicks. Tatu is the only person to win the player of the year and the coach of the year in the same season (1998). As a head coach he went 63-53 in the regular season and 7-3 in the playoffs.
Tatu has many indoor soccer records. He is the second all-time in goal scoring with 857. He has the second most season played (21). Only Victor Nogueira has played more with 23 seasons. He is seventh on the all time list with games played (633). He is also second in points (1585), second in shots (4396), and second in game winning goals (77). He is the leader in power play goals with (113).
He is known for throwing his jersey into the crowd after scoring every goal, a tradition that started during his time with the Tampa Bay Rowdies. His nickname means armadillo in Portuguese.
He also spent a brief time in his coaching career coaching at The Highlands School in Irving, Texas, where he coached the Blazers to two state championships in the late 1990s. Tatu currently has been coaching several girls' soccer teams for the Sting Soccer Club in North Texas. The high school team which he coaches now is Prince of Peace Christian School in Carrollton, Texas, who are 6 for 8 in state championships thanks to his lead.