Credit: Xavi Dussaq / Courtesy of Loudoun United
You’re currently at Loudoun United. Sum up your time at the club so far?
I’m really enjoying the club and I’ve known the manager for a long time since I was 15 years old. He was one of the assistant coaches at the University I attended and as such we’ve always had a very strong relationship
It’s been a really good time so far even though last year was very difficult for every football club across the United States and across the world due to Covid.
I’m looking forward to the future and I’m looking forward to the season ahead I just hope the season we can play all of our games and return to some sort of normality.
You mentioned your relationship with Ryan Martin. What is he like to work with on the training field each day?
Ryan has an incredible amount of knowledge regarding football and he has a presence as soon as he walks into the dressing room. He’s a strong communicator and he is a very personable coach.
He knows when it’s to appropriate to have a bit of humour with the players and he also knows when it’s appropriate to stamp is authority too.
He has very high standards.
We have some big characters within our side especially the young players who are coming to the squad having played college football for a number of years and I would say because these players are in the infancy of their career they still have that nature of playing football as a hobby and the professionalism as is only starting to kick in for them
Kairou Amoustapha is a very good player and a very big character he brings a lot of energy to a dressing room and we are lucky to have him.
Massimo Ferrin Is another player within our group who has a lot of quality.
A unique element of football in the United States is the college system. What was your experience like of college football at Wake Forest like before you made the journey into professional football?
It’s different and if I’m being hypercritical, it’s one of the reasons why the United States is lacking behind the standard of football in Europe. The reason I say this is because at the age of 17 right through to the age of 21 you are playing against players who are of a similar age range rather than playing against senior professionals.
Added to that having a three month season is very stressful and I don’t believe it’s a long enough period for you to fully enhance and develop as a footballer.
I was very lucky from a personal perspective because I went to college that had many great coaches and I was able to learn many of the important facets of football there.
One of the big moments of your career was when you were drafted to New England Revolution. What did you learn from your time with the Revs?
The main thing I learned is that ability and talent will only carry you so far.
I started my first preseason well by scoring a goal and having three or four assists in the first few games.
Things aren’t just hand it to you based on what you can do. You need to come in every single day and be ready to train to the best of your ability And showcase a positive attitude for the whole team around you.
From a young age, I had always been used to my ability ensuring that I was given regular game time where I was however at New England I had to learn about all the other aspects of football and to be honest I realised quite quickly that I still had a lot to learn to make it as a footballer.
During your time with the Revs, you join FC Tulsa in the USL. What was that experience like because that was the first time you ever played football at USL level?
That move came about after I had spent time training with Mallorca in Spain so when I arrived I took time to get to know the league and adapt to the level because the USL doesn’t always get the respect that it deserves as a league.
There are a lot of good quality players in the USL and there are lots of top-class teams as well. Many of the players from these teams end up going on to have top careers in MLS which just shows you how good they are.
An example of this is during preseason when we play MLS teams and a lot of the time the USL teams come out on top in those matches.
Another interesting place that you have played your football and is Chile when you played for Deportes Santa Cruz. How do you reflect on your experience of Chilean football?
I have Latino and Spanish roots so I’ve always followed Central American and South American football and had a desire to play in that environment.
I was very cited by the opportunity as it would be my first experience of playing outside America in a professional environment.
It was a different experience from the others that I had so far and it’s safe to say that the Chileans take their football very seriously.
Every single game matters because Chilean football has promotion and relegation and if I’m honest I believe that something that we need to adopt here in the United States otherwise our game will continue to fall behind Europe and Central/South American leagues.
You’ve also represented the United States national team at under 20 level. What did you learn from your international experiences?
I learned a lot and it was such a great opportunity to be able to share the field with other promising young players at the time.
Their squad was very unique because we had players that were currently playing in the US college system, players who were coming to camp from European teams and even players coming to camp from Mexican teams.
It was a blend of different football cultures and a blend of styles too.
Who are the best players that you’ve played with so far in your career?
I’d have to say Ian Harkes and Jack Harrison. Ian is currently playing in Scotland at Dundee United and Jack is currently playing in the Premier League with Leeds United.
On the other hand, who would you day that your toughest opponent have been so far in your career?
I’d have to say DaMarcus Beasley who I played against in pre season when I was at New England.
When I was playing for Tulsa, I also played against Bastian Schweinsteiger who was Chicago at the time. His calmness and composure on the ball was immense and he was a very strong player too.
Last question for you Michael, what do you hope to achieve in the future?
I just want to play as well as I possibly can for the next few years of my career. I would love to play in Europe or overseas again one day but I know that that will take a lot of hard work and determination from my side too. In all honesty, my full focus is on Loudoun United for the season ahead.