MetroStars midfielder Michael Bradley was drafted to be one of the team's promising young stars. Bradley initially started off 2004 with strong play, particularly during preseason at the La Manga Cup in Spain. However, his great start was cut short due to an injury that has kept him sidelined for the majority of the season. Bradley has worked hard and is ready to get back onto the field. This weekend he has the opportunity to see his first action as a professional soccer player. MetroStars.com caught up with him to find out more about his year first year as a pro.
MetroStars.com: You were drafted at the young age of 16 to be a professional soccer player. What were you thoughts after you had been selected?
Michael Bradley: "I just wanted to go into preseason and work hard. I wanted to earn the respect of my teammates by practicing hard and playing as much as I could. I was given the chance to get some playing time in preseason, which helped in gaining confidence, enabling me to know that I could help out the team."
MetroStars.com: In the beginning of this year, you were playing really well, especially during preseason. How has a long-term injury effected you?
MB: "Whenever you get injured and you're out for an extended period of time it's frustrating to sit on the sidelines watching the rest of the guys on the team play and work hard in practice. Watching the games and knowing there's not really much you can do because we went through stretches where we were missing a bunch of guys and I could have had the opportunity to play a bit. During that time, that's when I was more determined to work hard and get back as soon as possible."
MetroStars.com: Discuss the rehabilitation process that you went through.
MB: "More than anything it was working with my doctor's plan for me. He had a timeline for each step in rehabilitation of the injury and there were times I felt I was ahead of schedule and wanted to move ahead. He would slow me down so I didn't rush back, which was tough."
MetroStars.com: Due to your injury, you could not prove yourself on the field; did you find yourself being more vocal in the locker room?
MB: "Being around each day even though I was not playing, I was gaining confidence around the guys. I have developed friendships with everyone, so even though I wasn't playing, being around every day certainly made me comfortable."
MetroStars.com: You and Eddie Gaven were friends and played together prior to your being drafted by the MetroStars. How has it been playing with him?
MB: "It's been a lot of fun. In preseason and a few trips early on in the year, we roomed together, which was good. It's nice the way things worked out to have someone here close to my age in a similar situation."
MetroStars.com: How is it playing for head coach Bob Bradley, your father?
MB: "I like it a lot. It's been a good experience for me. I have been able to learn a lot and I think that's helped me become a better even if it has been a short time."
MetroStars.com: There is a possibility that you may see playing time this weekend. What are your thoughts on that?
MB: "Hopefully, I'll play this weekend. We'll see how training goes this week. I'm definitely excited to get on the field towards the end of the year. Every team plays the whole year to end up in the playoffs so we'll see how it goes."