1) My adjustment to Utah has actually been pretty slow. I’ve been looking for an apartment for about a month now – it seems like an eternity – so that’s kind of stressing me out a bit. But the guys are cool. I’ve had Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran and C.J. Brown helping me out a lot and the club’s been great so far.
2) I love being at RSL. On the field it’s great. The guys are very, very tight, they work hard, nobody has an ego and everyone pushes each other towards the common goal. I think it’s a very, very positive environment here. You get a lot of positive feedback, whereas in other situations if you make a mistake people might yell and throw their hands up and be like, ‘Damn, what are you doing?’ and then you start to get down on yourself. People are very encouraging here. They always push you to get better.
3) C.J. Brown has been a huge influence on my career. When I was drafted by Chicago in 2010 he was the Fire’s captain and him, center back Wilman Conde and goalie Jon Busch – who I call my uncle – really took me under their wing and helped me out.
4) C.J. in particular was always there for me in tough times. There were occasions in Chicago when I started thinking about whether or not I was actually a good player and he always kept me focused through those situations.
5) C.J.’s been big in helping me get adjusted to RSL, too. I’m still trying to learn the team’s system and he’s taken me under his wing again, giving me film on the team, telling me about how they defend as a unit and working with me on the field every day after full training wraps up.
6) Honestly, I’m surprised I’ve gotten big minutes since I came here. I didn’t play much at all in Chicago and I thought I would come here and have to get used to the style before I saw the field. But the staff seems to have a lot of confidence in me. When I got my first start for RSL, coach Kreis told me to go out there, play confidently and don’t be fearful. I did exactly that and it’s carried over. He’s given me a lot of confidence.
7) I have a very positive attitude. A lot of people don’t know, but I’ve been through a lot in life. One of my best friends growing up passed away and it was very hard on me. But it made me realize that I have nothing to fear. I’ve got nothing to lose and I’ve got nothing to be scared of. I’m fearless – I feel like nothing can stop me.
8) I’m California born and bred and I’m Cali to the bone.
9) I definitely need to get to one of those Thursday night Twilight concerts downtown.
10) Contrary to what some people in Chicago say, I’m not obsessed with Mike and Ike’s.