Monday, February 18, 2008

Meet the Rookies: Spencer Wadsworth

Going into the 2008 MLS SuperDraft Spencer Wadsworth didn’t know which club would ultimately pick him. Yet, he certainly knew where he wanted to go.

The former All-American had a fine first three seasons at Duke, where he accumulated 23 goals. But when the injury bug bit during his senior year, the production dropped (two goals in 20 games), thus causing his pre-draft stock to slide. Nevertheless, Wadsworth had his mind focused on one MLS destination in particular.

“Actually, (New England) is the place I wanted to be from the beginning,” said Wadsworth, who was picked by the Revolution in the fourth round with the 55th overall selection. “I wanted to be here - no offense to any of the other organizations.”

After speaking with other players about various MLS clubs, the former Blue Devil midfielder/forward came to the conclusion that, if given the choice, he would prefer to play in New England.

“I felt like my impression of MLS was that this was the best organization as far as taking care of its players,” said Wadsworth. “It was what I had heard from other players, and when I heard (about the Revolution picking me), I was like ‘Thank God.’”

Of course, it also didn’t hurt that he had former Duke teammates Chris Loftus and Kyle Helton provide him a better idea of what it was like to play in New England.

“I had been talking to Chris Loftus a lot,” said Wadsworth. “He was down at Duke before the draft at the beginning of January, and he was actually living with me and we were just training. I asked him about New England, but I kind of already knew that this was the best place as far as soccer.”

The affable 21-year-old from Dallas, TX, knows that by coming here, he’s afforded the opportunity to play under the guides of Steve Nicol and Paul Mariner, two of the biggest names in English football in the 1980s.

“I just came in here trying to learn every day from them,” said Wadsworth. “I knew Paul was a great forward. I actually had him as my (Elite Soccer Program) coach back in high school. I had him for about five days, and I learned so much from him.”

“I just want to learn from both of them. Sometimes, you get coaches where you question what they’re talking about. It’s not like that here. When they talk, you listen and then do it, and that’s what I’m here to do.”

And what Wadsworth is also aiming to do is win a spot on the club. Like many of his fellow rookie cohorts, the former Blue Devil is currently in training without a contract.

However, his versatility to play up front or in the middle should endear him to the coaching staff in an effort to stick with the club beyond preseason.

In fact, given his self-proclaimed fitness level (“I can run the whole game”) don’t be surprised to see him not only make the team out of preseason, but find some valuable first team experience when a plethora of MLS, SuperLiga, U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League matches all bottleneck later in the season.

But don’t think that the rookie has gotten too far ahead of himself. Some of his veteran teammates have dispensed the expected rookie ribbings.

“Yeah, it’s kind of like being a freshman in college again,” said Wadsworth. “I mean, you take it how it is and that’s the way it’s going to be. I don’t mind it. I just smile and laugh about it.”

Nevertheless, the hazing and ribbing have not distracted Wadsworth from the goals this season.

“Team-wise, I want to win,” said Wadsworth. “That’s the most important thing. (But) personally, I want to play. I want to at least have a role. I want to get better, and just keep getting better.”

“Obviously, the easy answer is to say ‘I want to start and play every game.’ I’m just more concerned with coming to practice and working hard everyday.”

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