The versatile defender-midfielder honed his game in Houston before jumping to Stoke. His star is rising.
- Juan Agudelo
- Jozy Altidore
- Kyle Beckerman
- Tony Beltran
- Austin Berry
- Matt Besler
- Nat Borchers
- Terrence Boyd
- Will Bruin
- Edson Buddle
- Teal Bunbury
- Geoff Cameron
- Edgar Castillo
- Ricardo Clark
- Bobby Convey
- Kenny Cooper
- Joe Corona
- Sam Cronin
- Danny Cruz
- Daniel Cuevas
- Brad Davis
- Nick DeLeon
- Jay DeMerit
- Maurice Edu
- Michael Farfan
- Andrew Farrell
- Greg Garza
- Eddie Gaven
- Luis Gil
- Alan Gordon
- Andy Gruenebaum
- Bill Hamid
- Clint Irwin
- George John
- Sean Johnson
- Benji Joya
- Dan Kennedy
- Perry Kitchen
- Jeff Larentowicz
- Steven Lenhart
- Chad Marshall
- Jack McBean
- Jack McInerney
- Justin Morrow
- Lee Nguyen
- Conor O'Brien
- Amobi Okugo
- Heath Pearce
- Chris Pontius
- Dillon Powers
- Nick Rimando
- Chris Rolfe
- Kelyn Rowe
- Omar Salgado
- C.J. Sapong
- Brek Shea
- Andrew Wenger
- Danny Williams
- Sheanon Williams
- Chris Wondolowski
- Graham Zusi
June 07, 2014
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF SOCCER?
Growing up playing soccer with my father. My dad used to take me to the park. We would just run around and kick the ball. We'd watch soccer on TV, and then go outside.
WHO WAS YOUR SOCCER HERO GROWING UP?
I loved watching Zinedine Zidane. For me, he was one of the best to ever play. Edgar Davids was another player who I admired. Locally, watching Joe-Max Moore for the New England Revolution was pretty cool.
DESCRIBE YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE SUITING UP FOR THE U.S.
It was exciting. It was an honor. More than anything, I think, every player's dream is to play for their country. Once you put on that jersey and you're wearing the crest of the United States, it's pretty cool. It gives you some chills.
WHAT IS THE QUALITY YOU MOST ADMIRE IN A SOCCER PLAYER?
The calmness. How relaxed and smooth they are on the ball. That's a skill you can't teach. It's a natural ability.
WHAT IS THE QUALITY YOU MOST DISLIKE IN AN OPPONENT?
Being pricks. There are some guys who are hacks. They are not technically soccer players. They just go in and try to boot you. Those guys will eventually get weeded out.
WHAT IS THE KEY TO YOUR SOCCER SUCCESS?
Like my dad always said, discipline, dedication, desire. The three Ds. You have to have that to succeed in life, whether it's being a journalist or whatnot. You have to have dedication to the things day in and day out, and the discipline to do so. And, obviously, the desire to keep your head down and stay focused.
WHAT IS ONE SOCCER SKILL YOU WANT TO IMPROVE?
I don't think there's one thing—I think there's a lot of things. Awareness. Your experience. Communication on the field. Cutting down lanes. Everything. Everything needs to be improved.
WHO HAS HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR DEVELOPMENT?
My father. 100 percent. There are coaches along the way. Even Dom Kinnear has been one of the reasons why I've had success with the Dynamo. He's given me opportunities and he's given me a chance to grow.
WHO IS YOUR CLOSEST FRIEND IN THE GAME?
I would say Corey Ashe and Bobby Boswell. They are two of my closest friends. Bobby and I were brought here together with the Dynamo, and living with Corey for four years made us really good friends.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST SOCCER ACHIEVEMENT?
I don't think I have hit my peak yet, so I can't say that right now, but I think being able to play soccer for a living.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST SOCCER DISAPPOINTMENT?
Not winning an MLS Cup.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON YOU LEARNED FROM THE GAME?
It's a short career, so enjoy it while you can. Don't take anything for granted, especially those days when it's tough. You get disappointed and upset, but you have to think that you are doing what you love for a living.
WHO ARE THE MOST TALENTED TEAMMATES YOU HAVE PLAYED ALONGSIDE?
Richard Mulrooney was a class act. He could do anything. Brian Mullan was great. Dwayne De Rosario. Stu [Holden].
WHO ARE THE TOUGHEST OPPONENTS YOU HAVE LINED UP AGAINST?
The guys from Manchester United: [Wayne] Rooney, [Dimitar] Berbatov. And obviously Saha. But those are guys I want to play against on a regular basis.
IF YOU WEREN'T A PROFESSIONAL SOCCER PLAYER, WHAT WOULD YOU DO FOR A LIVING?
I'd be coaching or doing something with soccer because it's in my blood.
WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE DEFINITION OF SUCCESS IN THE GAME?
Knowing that you leave it all on the field. You might not have had a good game, but you worked hard. No one can ever say you didn't work hard. I think staying mentally focused throughout your career and not getting distracted by things off the field. Just being a good person and being true to who you are as a person. Don't try to alter who you are because of certain people. I think I'm pretty straightforward and I'm an honest guy. If you don't like it, that's tough for you.