Every year at this time, across many MLS preseason camps, some coach or staff member is raving about this rookie or that rookie.
This kid is absolutely killing it!
I say, I’ll get excited about it when the games are real, when it’s time to really put money on the table. Because the ability to impress in preseason training frequently fails to translate into regular season success.
In fairness, it’s easy to fall into this trap. I watched New England rookie Andrew Farrell (pictured) last week in Arizona. The guy does have a presence and maturity about him (which I suppose we should be saying about the league’s No. 1 overall selection.)
Revolution coach Jay Heaps has also been impressed with midfielder Scott Caldwell. So I watched the homegrown signing closely and must say, the kid barely had a bad touch all practice. He’s a two-way midfielder who can track and tackle, but the guy can sure finish, too!
See how that happens? How you can talk yourself this thing?
Still, the bottom line in this business is getting it done on match day.
Heaps said both players are adapting quicker than he expected to professional pace. “They didn’t lose anything even though they’ve jumped up to another level. That comes from the great coaching they’ve had in college, but it also comes from their mental approach, learning quickly when they come in here how we want to play, and translating that to the games and the [practice] sessions.”
I asked Heaps if he was any close than a month ago to determining Farrell’s position this year? Heaps remains reluctant to “commit” any one spot in the field just yet.
“I see him and say, he could be a center back easily in this league, he could be a defensive midfielder easily in this league, or he could be a right back.”
As Heaps and I spoke, we were on the exact same field where Sporting Kansas City staff had raved one year ago about rookie striker Dom Dwyer. They really thought the kid might make a big imprint in 2012.
He played just four minutes in league matches all year.