Philadelphia Union captain Brian Carroll adjusts to more vocal role

ORLANDO, Fla. – Brian Carroll is the same as he’s always been.

Well, except for the yelling.

Now that he’s in his first year as Philadelphia Union captain, the typically soft-spoken midfielder has made it a point to be slightly more vocal with teammates.

“I think most of my career, I’ve shown up and done my job and that’s been sort of the way it’s been,” Carroll told “I learned now that [being a captain means] mixing some more yelling in. It’s just something to add.”

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Carroll – who given the armband after 2012 captain Carlos Valdés was sent on a one-year loan to Colombia’s Independiente Santa Fe – made sure to say that he won’t become a “sergeant general” just because of his new role.

But there were still some noticeable changes in how he interacted with teammates this preseason as the Union prepped for Saturday’s opener against Sporting Kansas City at PPL Park (4 pm ET, watch LIVE online).

“I still try to lead by example but guys are hearing my voice a little more,” Carroll said. “I try to be more vocal on the field and give instructions and pointers to the guys. I think guys are fairly comfortable with me and with what I’ve been able to do so far in my career. And they’ll at least listen to me for a little while.”

Making his transition into the captain’s role easier is the fact that there are many other MLS veterans on this year’s squad – players such as Chris Albright and newcomers Jeff Parke and Conor Casey.

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That is something the team did not have much of last year, especially following the early-season trade of Danny Califf.

“They don’t have to keep hearing it from me,” said Carroll, who’s entering his 11th year in the league and third with the Union. “They can hear it from me, from Chris, from Jeff, from Conor – older guys that have been around and have done it a time or two. So it’s not always the same message from the same person. It’s nice to come from different parts of the field sometimes.”

But when it's him that needs to be heard, he'll make sure that's what happens – even if it puts him out of his comfort zone. That's what being a captain is all about.

“It’s definitely an honor,” Carroll said, “and I’ll do the job as best as I possibly can.”

Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for Email him at

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