Hello blog readers!
Hope you guys are enjoying the change of weather. Being the California boy that I am, waking up to the sun and walking outside without a jacket has never felt better. It also makes for a much better crowd and atmosphere at our games (although the Sons of Ben show up at PPL Park no matter what, regardless of what the weather is like).
Our game vs. D.C. United this weekend will be on ESPN2, which is awesome because it’s another chance to promote our league, especially with a rivalry game. Rivalry games like these are what you live for as a soccer player. These types of games bring out the best in you, so you won’t have to worry about us being motivated.
United is one of our biggest rivals and not just because of proximity. Our teams have a lot of history between each other. Guys like Brian Carroll, Chris Albright, Danny Cruz and even our team administrator Josh Gros, used to play for D.C. (or as we like to call it, “the enemy”), so we’ll probably throw a couple “D.C. reject” chants their way. United also has a few of our former players in Lio Pajoy and Carlos Ruiz.
Every time we play each other it’s always an eventful game. From Sebastien Le Toux’s hat-trick, to Mike Farfan’s game-winning goal, to Andy Najar’s 30-yard goalazo, to DeRo’s missed penalty, to that one own goal that Perry Kitchen had off his back (Oh, and mine, too... but we don’t have to talk about that). The fans will surely see an exciting game (and I haven’t even brought up the dust ups that happen every time we play). Hopefully, we can bring the fans an exciting SOCCER game that will be enjoyable to watch.
All jokes aside, Sunday’s game is very important, and both teams know that they need to get a positive result. We need to make sure we stick to the game plan and play as a team, because D.C. is definitely a stronger team than their record indicates. With players like DeRo, Chris Pontius, Perry, Bill Hamid and Pajoy, they have a team that can punish us if we take a play off. But we’re confident that if we establish a rhythm and our play our game, we can get a positive result and start cementing our place above the playoff line. A win in a game like this is essentially a six-point swing.
One thing I will say is that I won’t miss playing against Andy Najar. He was a thorn in our side every time we played him. Glad the kid is doing his thing in Europe though. Seeing young guys like Najar, Roger Espinoza, Brek Shea, and Geoff Cameron go from the MLS to Europe gives me motivation to constantly work hard.
If you were to ask me, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I would definitely say playing in Europe on an established team in Germany or Spain. I’d also like to be a key member of the U.S. men’s national team.
Playing overseas has always been a career goal for me ever since I decided that I wanted to be a soccer player. Growing up, I watched the EPL, Bundesliga and La Liga hoping to be one of those players that I was watching on television.
Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Carlos Bocanegra, Baky Soumare, Roger Espinoza, Stu Holden and Michael Parkhurst are all examples of players who did well in MLS before going overseas. I hope I can say the same of myself in about five years.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have been a part of every national team level since U-14 so playing would be the full team is the next step. Hopefully in five years I will have had that chance. If everything goes according to plan and I continue to play to the best of my abilities, (and win a few trophies with the Union, of course) my dreams of making those things happen will be reality (maybe even sooner than five years). All it takes is one chance or one scout or one game to have your whole situation change (I know that first hand).
As of now though, I’m only focused on the present and what I can control, which is helping the Union get back to the playoffs and bringing home some hardware to a very passionate fan base.
Before I leave you guys, I just wanted to touch on a much more important topic than soccer or rivalries. The recent tragedy in Boston is a very, very sad circumstance. To have this happen at a marathon where innocent civilians gather to support a good cause is just unfathomable. My condolences and prayers go out to the families that lost loved ones and the citizens that are still injured, especially Matt Reis’s father-in-law. I know our nation and Boston, most importantly, will recover from the tragic events.
Talk to everyone soon,