CARSON, Calif. — The last few months have been full of change for Tristan Bowen.
Bowen was traded to a new team for the first time in his young career this offseason, moving from the LA Galaxy across the hall to Chivas USA. Then, during the preseason, the former forward made the switch to the midfield, starting first along the flanks before moving into a more central role.
The 20-year-old has handled all of this while dealing with an ankle injury that sidelined him for nearly two months and has prevented him from having much of an impact on the first half of Chivas USA’s season. While it has been a difficult recuperation process, Bowen is remaining resilient.
“It’s getting a little bit better each day. The training staff has been doing a great job of pushing me along,” Bowen told MLSsoccer.com “It’s just a matter of confidence and knowing that I’m able to go on the field and execute plays that I’m used to doing.”
Bowen notched a goal for the Rojiblancos in a June 5 reserve match against the Portland Timbers — his first in a Chivas USA uniform since moving from the Galaxy in early December. In the reserve match, Bowen spent much of the game playing in the midfield behind the strikers, his second different spot in the midfield for head coach Robin Fraser.
While the change of position has been difficult for the former forward, it pales in comparison to dealing with the sprained ankle.
“This is the longest injury that I’ve had before," he said. "The funny thing is that I thought it was a three- to four-week injury and it turned into an eight-week one, so there were a few setbacks and it was definitely frustrating. It’s part of being a good pro to take care of your body and listen to it, but I’m still young, so I just got to be smart about it.”
While Bowen has been working hard to return, the attacker was left off the travel roster for the Rojiblancos’ 2-1 defeat to the Houston Dynamo last Saturday after making the game day roster for both matches at home two weeks ago. For Bowen, who hopes to once again make an impact with the skills that made him the first Home Grown signing in MLS, the biggest issue has been regaining the most basic skills.
“The touch is what I’m trying to pick up more than anything else,” said Bowen. “Obviously the fitness is not where it should be, but if you can’t touch the ball, then you can’t play, so I’m trying to get that down first.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter: @adamserrano