COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Just as Caleb Folan was putting pen to paper on the contract that brought him to the Colorado Rapids earlier this year, he got a text message reminding him to pack a suit.
The Republic of Ireland international didn’t understand the reference until assistant coach Steve Guppy clarified that he would need the suit for his visit to the White House—to meet the President.
“I was laughing it off, thinking he was talking rubbish,” Folan told MLSsoccer.com. “A few months later, we are literally going to meet the President. I’m long forward to chill with Obama and ask him what’s going on.”
Folan will miss the Rapids' game at Columbus this Sunday after earning a red card in the 3-1 defeat to the LA Galaxy last weekend. But he is counting on being at the White House the following day when President Obama congratulates Colorado for their MLS Cup victory last year.
The red card was another learning process for Folan, who remains perplexed at the decision to send him off for his tackle on Juninho in the 75th minute. The Brazilian fell to the ground as though seriously injured, only to recover soon after to play a part in the Galaxy's third goal just minutes later.
"You play the game how you play the game, and you keep things in mind—but I was pretty stunned," said Folan, who spent time with Hull City in the English Premier League. "I think you have to analyze it more than just sliding to the floor. What I am used to in the UK—at worst it may have been a booking, but it would have been a strange booking.”
Though Folan said he believed his tackle on Juninho would have been treated differently in England, he was quick to point out that the approach to each MLS game is similar to how it is across the Atlantic.
“Every game is kind of different,” Folan said. “There are some teams that like to play really quick offensively and some teams that sit back more. It’s the same back home. The approach is different depending on who you play.”
Folan said his favorite match of the season so far was the 1-0 loss away to Real Salt Lake, clearly not for the result but for the way in which the game was played. It was like a blood and thunder EPL game, he said.
“That kind of had everything,” he said. “It was quick, and it was very competitive. That was a good example of a decent game back home. I enjoyed that.”
While the affable 28-year-old striker—who has scored twice for the Rapids in 2011—continues to learn the game in the United States, he is also getting to know the city and country where he now lives. He enjoys visiting new cities and likes to relax away from the pressures of the game by watching basketball with his teammates and soaking up the atmosphere in downtown Denver.
“I’ve met some people other than the guys here,” he said. “I kind of chill out with them at times, go for food, hang out, and they show me around the place. I think I’m growing to learn more about the city and I definitely appreciate it much more. It’s a pretty cool place.”
Enjoying the life, meeting the President. If he can just get his head around some of the refereeing and really find his scoring touch, life would be even better.
“I feel like I’m learning each week with all kinds of stuff,” he said. “I feel I’m getting it. It’s all about how you approach the game."