Toronto FC's Danny Koevermans returns to match fitness: "I'm like a little kid again"
TORONTO – Toronto FC striker Danny Koevermans has pronounced himself fit to play again, right when his struggling side really need their Dutch target man to step into the lineup and give them that little bit of extra class that they've been lacking.
It has been just more than 10 months since he suffered a season-ending ACL injury last July against the New England Revolution, and the big Dutchman played his first professional minutes in just under a year in Toronto’s MLS Reserve League match against Columbus on Saturday.
“It felt great. I’m like a little kid again," Koevermans told reporters following training on Tuesday. "I’m so happy to just to move around, touch some balls. It just was a great feeling, although it was a bad day because we lost to Columbus [in league play]. But for me personally, it was a victory after 10 months of hard work. I’m already sad that training’s over today because I want to be back tomorrow. I want to train again.”
As for the state of his knee and his overall fitness, Koevermans pronounced himself ready to contribute.
“There are no worries at all. If there were still worries, I would not have played. I’m good to go and the only thing that is not so fun is that the next game is in Boston,” he said, referring to TFC's visit to the New England Revolution on the artificial turf of Gillette Stadium Saturday (7:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE).
“I don’t want to jinx it, so I’m not going to go to Boston. And then a week later it is Philly at home and hopefully the coach uses me then.”
At 34 years old, Koevermans is coming off the first major injury of his career, and the former PSV and Sparta Rotterdam striker admitted that the setback has altered his perception of both the game and his profession.
“Once you’re injured then you find out how good a life it is to be a soccer player,” Koevermans admitted. “I complained and struggled during my time in Holland and now I’m like, 'Why did I complain so much?' It’s nonsense. Because the moment you’re out, then you see how much you love this game.”
Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen did anything but complain when asked about the prospect of being able to pair Koevermans and striker Robert Earnshaw up top in the TFC offensive scheme.
“Koevs is coming back, and with him and Earnshaw we will have two really natural finishers," Nelsen said. "I think Jeremy [Brockie] is like that as well, if you saw his finish in the reserve game, so I think we will have some really good options."