WASHINGTON – When a player is picked in the Supplemental Draft, simply making an MLS roster is an accomplishment.
Selected by D.C. United in the second round of the Supplemental Draft, Blake Brettschneider signed a contract with the team right before the start of the season, checking a roster spot off the list of things to do. But the 22-year-old wasn’t done, contributing to DC’s campaign with 15 appearances (9 starts), and chipping in a goal and two assists.
“I thought with the expectations I had coming in, I thought I had met those and probably exceeded them a little bit,” Brettschneider told MLSsoccer.com. “But for me personally, there’s still a lot to learn and a lot of room for improvement.”
A promising, athletic forward with good size, Brettschneider was a goal-scoring machine for DC’s reserves early on in the campaign. And while that didn’t necessarily translate to the first team through the year, it helped him recognize that he could adapt and make the adjustment to this level.
“It’s just all about confidence when you’re coming in as a rookie, never knowing what to expect, and especially for me being pretty low on the draft board and just trying to prove myself day in and day out,” he said. “It’s tough, but I think I knew I was capable of doing it, it was just a matter of going out and proving it to everybody else.”
Surviving the long, tough grind of the swampy summer months in the nation's capital, Brettschneider used his status as a supplemental player as fuel, eventually becoming one of only a handful of rookies to contribute significantly after being picked in the draft.
“The draft happened the way it did – you can’t change that,” he said. “I’m more than fortunate and thankful to be given the opportunity to come here and play, and the coaches have been great to me… I don’t hang [my draft status] over anybody’s head. Just being here, I’ve got the opportunity now, it’s just making the most of it.”
With his first offseason ahead, Brettschneider’s plans aren’t set in stone, but one thing is certain – he’ll put in the work to make an even bigger impact in 2012.
“I don’t really know what I’m going to do,” the striker said. “I’ll go home for a little bit, take about a week or so off and just kind of let my body recover. It’s not a very long offseason, we’ll be back in January and I’m going to do everything I can to physically and mentally prepare for next season.”
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, College and Youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com.