COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Germans are known worldwide for their professionalism, stoicism and efficiency. In his seven games (three starts) this season, Colorado Rapids midfielder Stefan Aigner has exemplified all of them.
In just his second club appearance, Aigner showed pinpoint precision and calmness on the ball in setting up the winner in a 1-0 win over Houston. Of late, the player brought in to boost the Rapids attack has been on a roll, scoring two goals in his past two appearances.
In a German translated interview, MLSsoccer.com sat down with the Munich native to discuss football, family and the fresh air of Colorado.
MLS: First off, how is the English coming along?
Aigner: It’s not perfect, but I’ve been learning it daily. [Rapids scouting coordinator Chris Zitterbart] has been helping me out with interviews and Shkëlzen Gashi has helped me out a little bit, too.
MLS: You’ve started your time with the Rapids off well. Do you wish that maybe you’d have come over earlier in the season?
Aigner: I’m excited to be here now and to have started off so well. It’s unfortunate that the season ends in two weeks, but it’s just an opportunity to start next season off well and get things back on track. Every professional soccer player has goals and winning an MLS Cup is one of my goals. That’s what we are looking forward to next season.
MLS: Now that you’ve played a couple of games, what are your impressions of MLS?
Aigner: MLS is good. It’s a high level and you see the teams are strong top to bottom. Travel and weather are a big difference [from Germany]. When it’s nearly 90 degrees in Dallas and you come back to Colorado and it’s snowing, that’s something to adjust to. When the shortest flight between games is 2-3 hours, that’s a big adjustment as well.
MLS: Is that the biggest difference you’ve noticed?
Aigner: Everything is very professional. But the biggest adjustment is the altitude and trying to cope with that.
MLS: We all know Padraig Smith was instrumental in recruiting you to come to Colorado, but was there anyone else involved?
Aigner: [San Jose Earthquakes defender] Florian Jungwirth. We know each other pretty well and I’ve talked to him a couple of times since I’ve been here. We had a few phone conversations and he definitely helped me make my decision to come to MLS.
MLS: Smith also mentioned that you’re a natural leader. How would you describe yourself as a leader?
Aigner: The most important thing to me is to show quality on the pitch and work hard. When you do that, the young guys will fall in line and start to do that as well. We have plenty of talented young guys with quality on this team, but sometimes you need a bit of luck as well.
MLS: Outside of soccer, what has been your favorite thing about Colorado so far?
Aigner: I’ve enjoyed exploring the Rocky Mountains with my wife and son. I [like to visit] Boulder, but my favorite place so far has been Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
MLS: Any other hobbies?
Aigner: I really like skiing in the winter. But my focus right now is on soccer.