Of all the Wizards offseason acquisitions, English midfielder Craig Rocastle is probably the most traveled.
Including two early years in Chelsea’s reserves, the 28-year-old Rocastle has donned the jerseys of 11 different clubs over the course his career before signing with Kansas City this offseason from Forest Green Rovers. MLSsoccer.com caught up with Rocastle after training last week for a quick chat about life so far in the Midwest.
MLSsoccer.com: How did signing with Kansas City from across the Atlantic come together for you?
Rocastle: Basically, the idea was put to me last year. I had a few problems with the club going into financial problems and actually getting out my contract there. By the time I had clearance, the idea was put to me by the agency. Lucky enough, Kansas was one of the leading interests. The management staff gave me a call and I accepted the invite.
MLSsoccer.com: How have your first few months gone? What are the differences from what you are used to?
Rocastle: The only difference really is the actual timing of the season. Normally, we would be finishing up. Apart from that – the preparation for training, the enthusiasm for training – everything is the same intensity. Peter and the rest of the staff are very organized and want things done properly.
MLSsoccer.com: What are initial impressions with the level and style of play?
Rocastle: It’s been quite tough for me at the minute due to the traveling of getting back fit again. It looks the same. Everyone is competitive. Everyone wants to win. There’s atmosphere. The standard alone is hard to compare because it is a different time in the game. There are big players and high profile players here. Football is universal. It’s very similar.
MLSsoccer.com: What did you know about Major League Soccer?
Rocastle: To be honest, I knew when it started in the back of mind, and over the last three or four years a lot of people have been coming here. I’ve had two friends of mine play out here and put the idea to me to actually try it myself.
MLSsoccer.com: Who was that?
Rocastle: Rohan Ricketts at Toronto and Ade Akinbiyi in Houston. They are very close to me, and they put the idea in my head. I’m quite happy that it came through.
MLSsoccer.com: What did they say about the league and what you would be getting into?
Rocastle: They said there were a lot of things going on there [in USA]. To just go, perform and I would be fine. The people get behind you, and it’s an up and coming thing.
MLSsoccer.com: The United States and Kansas City have to be a big change for you. How has that transition been?
Rocastle: It’s been really good for me because I’ve settled in as quickly as possible. It’s been easy to settle because I’ve had the chance to see as many things as I can. Now, I’ve got a vehicle, which helps. It’s been good to me so far.
MLSsoccer.com: What are your hopes for the season?
Rocastle: Just to be successful as a team, and perform when I’m on the field.