WASHINGTON — It’s always an uphill battle for any Supplemental Draft pick to make a roster, let alone make an impact in MLS.
But D.C. United rookie forward Blake Brettschneider has managed to do just that in 2011, becoming one of only a few Supplemental picks to see significant action this season. In 11 appearances (eight starts), the University of South Carolina product has a goal and two assists.
MLSsoccer.com caught up with the rookie as he prepares for the final 10 games of the season.
MLSsoccer.com: How much do you think you’ve improved from the beginning of the year?
Brettschneider: I think quite a bit. It’s the little things, the intangibles — learning when to make the right runs, in situations, what action is necessary, all the small stuff that the coaches preach on every day. [I’m] trying to be a more consistent player and do what they ask me to do and be able to contribute to the team.
I think I’ve come a long way. My goals personally have changed a lot, and I think the coaches' expectations in me have changed quite a bit, too. It’s getting better every week.
MLSsoccer.com: How have you adjusted to the DC area?
Brettschneider: Everything’s gone pretty smoothly. I’m not one to get homesick; I miss home, but this pays the bills and this is where I need to be to do that, and it’s perfectly fine with me.
Plus it’s a new experience, especially being young, I don’t have a lot of attachments or anything like that, so it’s nice to travel and do all of this stuff. It hasn’t been too difficult — no different than going off to college, really.
MLSsoccer.com: A year ago you were a senior at South Carolina. Back then, did you see yourself making it as a pro one year later?
Brettschneider: I think if you'd asked me, that’s where I would have liked to have seen myself. You have so many ups and downs — some weeks you feel good about it, some you don’t think you have a chance.
This is where a lot of people want to be. Any college senior who’s aspiring to be a professional wishes they were here, so for that I consider myself to be very fortunate. Things have worked out probably a little better than I expected with the playing time and the situation here in DC, but this is definitely where I have hoped to have seen myself.
MLSsoccer.com: What does this team need to do to make the playoffs?
Brettschneider: We have to win games at home and we have to, at least, play for ties — if not better — on the road.
I think over the course of the season, we’ve struggled a little bit at home and done fairly well on the road, minus that last road trip that was a little disappointing. We’ve got to make sure we try to stay healthy, positive.
MLSsoccer.com: College soccer started last weekend. Do you keep up with any of the guys still playing for South Carolina?
Brettschneider: The majority of my good friends were seniors [last year], but I do still talk with some of the guys on the team and some of the guys who are seniors this year. Unfortunately they didn’t get off to that great a start last weekend [losing 3-2 against the College of Charleston], but they play Clemson this weekend, and I think I’m going to go to that game while I’m home.
That’ll be fun. I try to keep up with them but I’m pretty focused here and it’s not the first thing on my mind.
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, college and youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com.