Last season Brandon Barklage was on the outside looking in during the Red Bulls' first training camp. This time around it's a different story, as the defender looks to bounce back from a tough end to last season with an even stronger start to this one.
What was the team’s immediate reaction to the announcement that Mike Petke would be taking over head coaching duties?
I think we’re all pretty pumped about it. He’s a guy who has put his time in with the club and he’s gotten a good response from the entire group, just after day one. So I think the entire team is stoked about it.
You’re a guy that Mike Petke brought in during the 2012 season. You knew him from your days with D.C. United. How comfortable are you with him at the helm for the Red Bulls?
It feels good. I trust him more than anybody else in this entire organization and I think everybody else does on the team. I’m just happy for him, happy for his family, and he’s the guy who deserves it most.
Let’s talk a little about last season. Obviously it didn’t end the way you’d have liked with that foot injury that kept you out, but you have a fresh start now and a chance to kick it off on the right foot. Pun intended.
Yeah, my number one goal is to stay healthy for the entire season. Hopefully play in every single game and just keep building my career, put the team first, and hopefully shoot for an MLS Cup for Mike and the fans.
You said yourself that 2012 was a breakout year for you. Last season you were the guy looking to make the team when you were invited to camp, and this year you’re in a different spot. How do the two compare?
I think it’s just mentality and the personality of the team; and that comes straight from Mike. He passes down a lot of confidence, a lot of respect to the group, and we’re all sensing that. We have a great attitude moving forward and we know we have the right people in charge.