KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Bobby Convey walked into last Thursday’s weekly news conference wearing a Sporting Kansas City hard hat and a pair of dark sunglasses. He plopped down in a chair, grinned and said, “How’s this look?”
Later on in the same session, the slightly built left winger dismissed Sporting’s reputation as a rough team with a laugh and a one-liner: “Look at me. I’m an amazing physical specimen.”
Believe it or not, Convey – who came to Kansas City with a reputation for being prickly – is having fun again, and not just because he doesn’t have to play left back any more.
“Everything is great,” said the veteran attacker, who joined Sporting in an offseason trade after three contentious years in San Jose. “Everything is really set up for us to do well as players. When you’re put in that situation, you can kind of be who you are. There is no negative energy surrounding you at all. Everything is a positive here.”
As he spent more time in that atmosphere, and as Sporting got off to a 7-0-0 start, Convey began to season his postgame interviews with good-natured quips. Then, out of nowhere, he cut loose with a series of Twitter-themed videos in which Convey, appearing by turns bemused and amused, promotes his teammates’ accounts.
Convey is a non-tweeter on a social media-savvy team, and acknowledged that consequently, he’s less connected with fans than other players might be.
“People don’t really know who I am,” he conceded last week. “This is who I am here. The people here have seen who I really am, and most of my teammates would say I act like this – not how I’m portrayed in the media.”
At the same time, Convey has become more open about the past hurts and disappointments that led him to raise his guard in the first place.
“When you turn pro at 16 and you think the world is wonderful and rosy and no one’s going to try to take advantage of you, and you act like a teenager, you learn the hard way sometimes,” he said. “That’s basically why I’ve always been so guarded, because you don’t know who you can trust. You don’t know who’s going to try to take advantage of you.”
That hasn’t happened with Sporting, Convey said.
“I probably had five, six, seven calls before I even came here – from staff, from players, from people in the organization,” he said. “It makes you feel more comfortable. I really like the guys on the team. Everybody’s very close. I know that sounds strange when there’s 25 guys, but everyone’s personalities mesh well and that makes it easier for somebody new coming in.”
Convey will turn 29 on Sunday, the same day Sporting host the Earthquakes. And this time, he’ll have his new outlook to celebrate along with the passing of another year.
“I’ve been playing for a long time,” he said. “It’s time for me to enjoy it a little bit.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.