Newly acquired Red Bulls defender Heath Pearce spoke with NewYorkRedBulls.com briefly following Friday's training session at Montclair State University to discuss his transition to the team, the area, and his goal in the U.S. Open Cup match against the Charleston Battery.
Let’s start off by backtracking just a little bit. Where were you when you first heard of the trade?
I was actually at training. It was still pretty early. I would typically get in about two hours, an hour and a half before training started, so I was getting some treatment and stuff and one of the fitness coaches came up to me and said the head coach wanted to talk to me. That was the first time he’d ever done that. Usually when the coach wanted to talk to me he’d stop by in the training room and say, “Hey, when you get a chance stop by.” So right away something kind of rubbed me different. So I went in there and, like I’ve said in a few interviews before, it was like a ghost town in the coaches office. Normally, they had a large coaching staff, seven, eight, ten guys, and they’re always [there]. And it’s empty and I was like, “Oh, OK, this can't be good.” And then I come in, he’s in there and he calls me in and sits down and breaks the news to me. It was very professional, quick, short.
How has the transition been so far, just living in the New York area?
It’s great. It’s great. We obviously have a really cool team here and a bunch of good guys who welcomed me since the start. And to go to Montreal and get a win a man down after being here a day and getting a point against Chivas – when, OK, I thought we should have gotten three points - but to be getting points right away and jumping in the lineup with the team’s a great thing. It makes everything happen a lot quicker. I’m excited.
In the third round match of the U.S. Open Cup you had a chance to get on the score sheet with a goal as well. Must’ve felt pretty good, huh?
Yeah, it’s good. Any time you can contribute to a win as a defender, center back or outside back, a lot of times you don’t get to contribute in those ways. You contribute defensively and in other ways – that kind of behind the scenes type stuff. So any time you can get a goal like that it’s fun and to help the team get a result is always a good thing. I’m happy for us, I’m excited for us to get to the next round.
What’s this I hear about you assisting Kenny Cooper on his first goal as a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team?
Yeah, that’s right. I just remembered that. I forgot about that. Yeah, we were playing against Denmark in L.A. and I played a ball to Kenny, kind of a through ball, Kenny took a great touch kind of got on a breakaway and finished it off. I just remember that. Wow. That was a while ago. (laughs)
What’s it like playing with him again now as a member of the Red Bulls?
Yeah you know, Kenny spins off the back shoulders of the defenders a lot. He’s always drifting into good spaces and he’s obviously finishing goals right now, so you couldn’t ask for more in terms of his production in front of the net. So hopefully he’ll keep it going and get some wins for us this year.