Connor Lade chatted with NewYorkRedBulls.com for a few minutes Wednesday afternoon following the team's training session on the pitch at Montclair State University. Here's what he had to say about the first half of his first season in Major League Soccer.
We’ve hit the midway point of your first season in MLS. What can you say you’ve taken from the experience so far?
It’s been a really great experience so far. I’ve learned so much from the coaching staff and the guys around me. You can’t help but learn something new every day. It’s been a real growth experience for me, but I’m looking to continue to grow and keep picking up on things every day because I know there’s a lot of work to do.
In your MSG interview with Tina Cervasio, you mentioned Heath Pearce as being a big influence on you. What has he been teaching you?
Even when I got to play a bit in front of him at left mid when he was left back, I got to see some of the types of runs he would make and when he would go, when he wouldn’t go. And he would always be very good at telling me where to be a left mid. He’s such a veteran player with a wealth of experience, both here and in Europe, that he’s been around and seen a lot. He’s a good person to look up to because that’s the type of career I’m looking to have.
When you first came on board with the Red Bulls, you said you’d fill whatever role the coaching staff needed of you. You’ve play defense, mid – a little bit of everything. Is there one spot you’re more comfortable in than the other?
To be honest right now I’m starting to get comfortable at midfield. I’ve always played outside back really, or on the back line somewhere, but in training sessions and at getting into some games, I’m actually starting to get comfortable at left mid as well and outside mid, but at the end of the day I’m just going to play where they want me.
Do you enjoy the creativity of being on the ball and kind of orchestrating an attack a bit more?
Yeah, I’m getting more and more comfortable every day on the ball. I’m trying to positively impact the team going forward, but I like making runs in behind and just causing trouble for guys and just trying to be a handful out there.
When you signed at the start of the season, you were confident you could help the team in any way. Did you foresee the opportunity to gain all this experience, whether it’s minutes on the pitch or in training?
It was something that I wanted to work to do. Maybe not necessarily from the start, but I feel very blessed to be able to have that opportunity and coach has the confidence to put me in there. But you know, I’m not satisfied. And I’m going to keep working every day because I want to stay on the field and keep getting any playing time I can.