It felt a little different going back hom to D.C. this year as opposed to last. Last year was the first time that anyone had seen me play as a pro, and I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to have a good showing in front of them. It turned out that I played OK, and we won, but it wasn’t that big of a game just because we were already in the playoffs.
This time around, it being the opener and a huge match for both teams, I think I was more prepared this time, and kind of welcomed the challenge and excitement of being able to show in front of my loved ones. I had family there, of course, including college friends, high school friends, old teachers, some of my old club coaches, everyone. Even warming up, I could hear everyone yelling and cheering from where they were sitting. Them being there, it just put be in such a good state of calm and concentration.
As far as the goal, we had been attacking them for the last 10 minutes. I got lucky, and got away from Daniel Woolard, and Zusi put the ball right where it needed to be. Right when he kicked it, I felt good about it. Bill Hamid was my roommate with the national team, and we’re good friends. He acknowledged it was a good header, and we spoke before and hung out after the game.
Last week was an exciting one for everyone at Sporting KC. On Tuesday, we took part in media day at the stadium, which included a scrimmage against a local college team and a meet-and-greet with fans afterwards. Let me fast forward to the end.
I knew I was getting presented with the trophy for MLS Rookie of the Year, but I didn’t know it was going to happen the way it did. The give me the award, and I’m getting ready to thank the fans, then out of nowhere Kei Kamara comes in grabs the microphone and the trophy from me. I had no idea what was going on.
So Kei starts asking the crowd to cheer for me, and he’s pointing to which side of the room he wants to cheer. One side, then the other. He turns back to the first half of the room, and just launches the trophy out of his hand.
It shattered. I was so upset that I had to leave. But still, even though my award was gone, I still had to be gracious and thank everyone. Next thing I know, they bring out this box, and inside was the real award. So messed up, but I give credit to Kei and everyone for pulling it off. It was also good to finally receive it and just close that chapter. Not that I’m not proud of it, but I just want to look forward, achieve some new goals and earn some new accolades.
You can watch the video below...