HARRISON, N.J. — Being selected a MLS All-Star and getting the chance to suit-up to play against Manchester United wasn’t something that Sean Franklin expected, but “it sure was nice,” the Galaxy defender said Tuesday after All-Star practice.
But now that he is here, Franklin wants to be a part of a MLS side that plans on making a statement against the English Premier League champions.
“Realistically, we are hoping we can get in and get a win,” Franklin said. “I think it is going to be a fun, exciting game — we have a chance to show them we can play good soccer.”
Playing good soccer is what Franklin has been doing this season. Not only does the Galaxy defender want to be a part of a victory over Man. United on Wednesday, Franklin wants to continue to build upon his successful growth over the past few years.
And while he acknowledges how important this honor is to him, Franklin doesn’t see the All-Star match as the pinnacle of his career, but just another peak he has reached.
“It isn’t something I think about, that I shoot for or set as a goal,” Franklin said. “I always wanted to be an All-Star at some point in my career, but I just always want to be getting better. But it is nice to be recognized, to get that honor and to know that your work on the field, the time you put in, is being noticed.”
Franklin was having lunch with his family at a restaurant while watching a Sunday afternoon MLS game on ESPN when, during halftime of the Portland vs. Seattle broadcast, he saw that his name was announced among the All-Star Game selections. It was an honor for Franklin, who endured trade rumors early last year and earned a reputation as one of the league’s most solid outside backs.
The soft-spoken defender is far from being one of the flashiest players likely to take the field on Wednesday night, but his man-marking and ability to push into the attack with well-timed overlapping runs should be an asset to the MLS squad. After Tuesday’s training, Franklin sees a team coming together ahead of Wednesday’s showcase event.
“This is our first time actually playing; yesterday was more of a jog and stretch,” Franklin said. “Today we actually got together to play a little soccer and it was actually really good.”
For the Galaxy right back, who was voted in as part of the fan balloting, the honor now places him on the same field alongside Galaxy teammate David Beckham and Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry. Franklin said he never dreamed he’d be a part of such a star-studded lineup and that he’d one day be taking on the likes of Manchester United with players like Beckham and Henry.
“I never imagined that," Franklin said. "David, I’ve been playing with David the past three or four years and he’s been a great teammate. Thierry, I looked up to him as a child. I still do.”
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer