This past winter, Adam Buksa was at a transitional crossroads. At 23 years old, he was morphing from a promising young player nearing the beginning of his prime. He was still playing in Poland, however, and only one of the top 15 transfers from the Ekstraklasa was older than 23.
With ambitions to move up in the soccer world, a change of scenery was needed. The national team forwards he's competing against all left the league by this age – Robert Lewandowski, Arkadiusz Milik and Krzysztof Piatek. Poland has no shortage of big-time forwards to choose from, yet Buksa is intent on breaking into that rotation.
After being linked with several European clubs, including from Germany, Italy, France and England, Buksa heard of interest from the New England Revolution. Intensive research followed, and Buksa decided the Revs were the right move for his career.
“For me personally, comparing MLS to the Ekstraklasa, MLS is surely a better league," Buksa, one of three Designated Players in New England, told MLSsoccer.com. "Performing well in MLS brings bigger opportunities than performing well in Ekstraklasa. That’s my point of view."
The 6-foot-3 forward spent the early stages of his young career in Poland, with the last three spent at Pogon Szczecin. Buksa was a regular, reliable goalscorer for the club. He even earned a call-up to Poland's national team, though didn't make his debut.
“I’m sure that MLS is a launching pad," Buksa said. "MLS has been changing throughout the years. There are many young, talented players here from all over the world. I’m sure European clubs keep watch on MLS."
Buksa notched his first goal during his second match for New England, a 1-1 draw at home against Chicago Fire FC. He flashed exactly why New England made their investment with a deft first touch that set up a left-footed, composed finish.
GOAL: Adam Buksa smoothly beats the defender and the keeper for his first MLS goal
Buksa said the speed of play in MLS is faster than in Poland, where it's a bit slower and more tactical. He enjoys that contrast because it offers more chances to score.
“It’s early to say because I’ve only played two games, but I really like the league," Buksa said. "The level is high, it’s a good place to get better as a player. I’m happy to be here, I’m sure I made the right decision to join. I can’t wait to get back, I miss it very much.”
For now, like the rest of us, Buksa waits and spends the overwhelming majority of his time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. He's settled into his new surroundings well. His girlfriend is with him and he spends two or three hours every day taking online business courses, in both money management and entrepreneurship.
“People in America are very easygoing, they’re helpful. It was really easy to get in touch with them," Buksa said. "I feel welcomed here, simply. It helped me get used to living here. That’s very important because I’m far away from home.”
Even now, Buksa's remains focused on breaking into Poland's national team on a consistent basis.
“We haven’t talked about my transfer to the United States," Buksa said of national team manager Jerzy Brzeczek. "I’m sure I made the right decision, this is a step forward for me. My job is to keep scoring goals, keep playing well to impress. Right now the Polish national team has great, great forwards. Lewandowski, Milik. The contrast is huge. But whenever the coach needs me, I’m there.”