A couple Boys in Gold met with the media yesterday. Here’s the full transcript from striker Michael Cox and fullback Ryan James.
On the Florida trip and the team’s building of chemistry in the Sunshine State:
“It was real good, you know. We got in a lot of sessions, quite a few games. We’re really starting to come together as a team. All the things we’ve been working on, we’ve started to see them in the games. With a strong performance in Orlando.”
Scoring and assisting in the Orlando game – did he build confidence?:
“Of course, every attacker wants to have a goal or an assist. For sure, as preseason goes on, I’m feeling better and better, so I’m hoping it carries onto the season.
What he’s looking forward to with the beginning of the regular season:
“Just getting that first game out of the way. It’s been a long time we’ve been in preseason. I think all the guys are ready, so it should be pretty good.”
His expectations for the season:
“Personally, I just want to stay healthy and be ready for whenever I’m called upon to give the best that I can. As a team, of course we want to do well. We want to be competitive, we want to be up there at the top of the table at the end of the season.”
After missing much of 2017 with injury, how is he feeling for 2018?
“I’m feeling great. It’s been a – it was a long recovery for me. But I’m feeling better than ever.”
On the team coming together:
“I mean, every day is a different day. I think with every day, everyone gets to know each other a little bit more. These two-a-days are really bringing us together in the sense that we can see each other’s tendencies: what one guy is going to do. So if I move left, another guy’s going to move right. You can just kind of almost sense like, ‘he’s gonna do this, so I’ve gotta do that.’ You’re working that partnership, and it only makes you guys stronger. I think it’s going well so far.”
How does the team build chemistry with no returning players?
“I think it’s tough in a sense, but everyone has that experience where you come into a new team. You know how to approach it from a sense where you don’t know many guys. A lot of guys – you don’t start with one team, and go through with that whole team your whole life – everyone has that experience of coming into a new team and you don’t know anyone. ‘How can I know these guys better as quick as I can?’ I think everyone’s applied that and we’ve gotten to know each other fairly quickly. I think these two-a-days and long days, as draining as they are on the body and stuff like that, everything helps. Outside of soccer, inside of soccer, just getting to know who you’re playing with and all those guys, it helps a lot, just knowing that person and getting those relationships.”
How has the off-field chemistry come about?
“Honestly, I think it’s just the amount of time we spend together. I know me personally, some guys come in different times, but it’s usually 8 am until who-knows-when in the afternoon, three or four sometimes. Just always being around these guys, and then even when you go back, sometimes you see guys hanging out together on extra. It’s almost like the only time we’re not seeing each other sometimes is when we’re sleeping. Everyone’s in their separate rooms, you know. That’s preseason, and you can only expect to have a strong team by having those long days and being – in a sense – forced to be with each other all the time, even though sometimes guys may want their own time apart from the team. It pays off in the end and I think everyone appreciates this time together and the long days with each other in the end.”
What will change with the regular-season rhythm soon to be established:
“I think it’ll still pan out. Although we’re not playing soccer quite as much, the quality will come within a shorter timeframe. I’m assuming – I can only say that I think guys will still hang out outside of soccer. It’s not just soccer that brings us together. After this month-and-a-half, now we’re more than just teammates. We’re going to be exploring the city together and just hanging out together, and just enjoying our time here in Nashville.”
Is the team regular-season ready?
“I think we’re at very good place right now, but there’s always room for improvement. The time that we’re given, we’ll use it to tune up a couple things. Always take the time that you’re given, and were going to use it wisely and we’re going to use it to our advantage.”