Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson came back to Goodison Park for his second straight offseason training stint with Everton a much different player than a year earlier.
The 23-year-old made his fair share of mistakes in 2012, as young goalkeepers are prone to do, but his season wasn't short on spectacular moments. With every game, Johnson became more technically sound, and with every mistake, he became a better goalkeeper.
“From technique to how I deal with different situations, it makes you better as a player,” Johnson told MLSsoccer.com. “Pretty much every aspect of my game has changed since I got in [the league in 2010]. Now, it's just a matter of consistency to keep your game at a high level.”
Johnson has taken every opportunity throughout his young career to cure his inconsistency and become a top-level goalkeeper.
During his first two offseasons as a professional, Johnson participated in a January US men's national team camp and received his first cap in a game against Chile, trained at Everton, and was called up to the Under-23 national team for Olympic qualifying.
This offseason, though, may be his most hectic. Johnson just returned from three weeks in England, training one week at Stoke City and two at Everton.
“Any time I can go in the offseason and get some training in in the best league in the world, that experience is second-to-none,” Johnson said. “Every chance I get to go over there and play with the best of the best, it makes my level better and it makes me a better player at the end of the day.”
The busy offseason may not be finished. Jurgen Klinsmann is set to name the national team roster for the January camp, and Johnson hopes to be on that list.
When the offseason is finished, he'll dive into a season that could be pivotal.
Johnson is in the fourth year of his Generation adidas contract, which usually the final year. How he performs may have a large hand in deciding whether he goes overseas next offseason or whether he stays put. But the Atlanta native wouldn't speculate about his future.
“I'm not too worried about the future right now, I'm just worried about the present, whether that's club or national team,” he said. “I'm just staying in the present and do everything you can to make myself better. Hopefully things will fall into place as they may.”