My first impression putting on the Black and Gold top was pure joy. I had dreamed of the day of putting on a pro shirt and playing on the same field as the best in the league. I knew a brief history of the Crew before I was drafted here. Once I googled it and read all the literature I could find, I realized I was part of a team with some the richest history in the league. I mean, the Crew drafted the legend that is Brian McBride in the first draft and now 16 years later they drafted me. It’s truly an honor to put on that jersey and have that crest over your heart.
The first couple days were fun because everyone was so nice and I was playing with veterans like Eddie Gaven and Chad Marshall. The guys were great players and even better men. They all welcomed the rookies with the usual practical jokes and initiation stuff, as Danny O' Rourke likes to call it. The first game that we play is usually 5v2 and it always gets pretty competitive. Gaven is trying to meg everyone, Bernardo is doing tricky sole passes, and the rookies are just trying to stay out of the middle. I enjoyed my first two weeks in Columbus. The trainings were great, different from college in that they require a high tempo for a majority of the time. I like experiencing a new style of coaching and I have really enjoyed the practice layouts and competitive nature. I mean no one wants to lose at crossing and finishing. Because if you do, you will find yourself on the goal line for butts-up. Not a fun game to be on the goal line for, trust me.
Florida has been a great change of pace. Love getting on the grass, and being with the guys all day, every day is the best way to get to know each other. After a couple days of Fifa with Kirk Urso, Justin Meram and Cole Grossman, we have yet to see a clear champion. I would say at the halfway point, Justin and I are at the top, but Grossman did recently beat me and I have yet to get a rematch. Justin is the guy to beat as of now, I would say. I also have been introduced to a new board game called Settlers of Catan. It’s amazing and requires some real knowledge and wit. Gaven and Andy G introduced Kirk and I to the game. It’s all about strategy and having the hot hand with the dice. If you haven't played, its time. The training down here has been great, though. (New strength & conditioning coach) Brook (Hamilton) has been pushing the fitness level in practice and the team has responded well. We had an intra-squad (scrimmage) yesterday and I had good match. Played out wide on the right and got an idea of the movements and ways to find the game in a wide area. It was challenging but I am excited to learn the position from a guy like Eddie Gaven. My goal this season is try to emulate how he finds himself in dangerous positions as a wide midfielder and add that into my already developing game. We have a big match versus Malmo on Wednesday and I expect us to not only get a result, but improve on our game from yesterday.