After sustaining a hip injury during his rookie season, New York Red Bulls II defender Roy Boateng returns for his second season with the club after signing his first professional contract on March 8, 2019.
Boateng shared with us his thoughts from preseason, the process of recovering from his hip injury last season, and what he has been up to during this suspension in play.
Q: What was your primary goal during the offseason?
Boateng: My primary goal in the off-season was to get back to full health and fitness. I also wanted to work on my game and come back to pre-season fully ready to compete.
Q: How did preseason go for you?
Boateng: The preseason overall was a success, I was able to go with the first team to Florida and Arizona. It felt good to play in games and gain that experience. It was a great experience all around, I learned a lot in that short amount of time and I’m grateful for that opportunity.
Q: What has been the biggest learning point for you during the preseason?
Boateng: The MLS level is obviously very good; every player is special in their own way. I think for me the biggest learning point was just to focus on the tiny details and look to perfect it. The tiniest decisions/indecision can help or hurt you.
Q: Obviously you had a hip injury, which kept you out for most of last year, how did it feel to make a couple appearances at the end of last season?
Boateng: Yes, I was out for most of the season last year, but it was a learning experience at the same time. A time to appreciate the grind, to really appreciate what I do, and then when I came back, even though it was mainly minor minutes, it meant a lot to be out there again. It felt great to be back.
Q: This being your full professional first season, what are you doing differently in preparation?
Boateng: Again, I think the biggest thing is just the details whether it’s nutrition, sleep or technique. Just take care of the controllable and the rest will come together.
Q: What is the biggest thing you are looking to improve in your game?
Boateng: I want to be the best player I can be every time I’m out there. There are always things I want to improve and I’m working to do so. I want to help my teammates when I’m out there and make the game easier on them by doing my assignments well on the pitch.
Q: Obviously suffering a long-term injury is never easy, is there someone who has really helped you deal with the injury last season?
Boateng: I think it’s been a collective effort all around. The staff from the players, trainers and coaches have been really great and supportive. Special shout outs to Steve Hawthorne, Noah Wilson, Chris Duncan, and Luis Robles who would check in on me daily and encourage me. They were with me in the trenches.
Q: What would be your advice to someone else dealing with an injury that keeps someone out for a long period of time?
Boateng: I would just say whatever that player or person is dealing with, that they can overcome the obstacle. I would tell them to fight with everything they have to come back, because it’s worth it. Keep working, even when no one is watching or it’s painful because you’re building more than your body, you’re also building your resilience and character.
Q: What have you been doing to stay busy during the suspension of play?
Boateng: I have been training and just staying fit while staying at home. I’ve been reading a lot and I recently got into Seinfeld, such a funny show, but I’m excited for us to come back to playing when all of this is over!