Hot off the heals of being picked for the Adidas Generation squad, I had an opportunity to talk with Chris Pontius about MLS rookie life. Pontius is a close buddy of mine from college, we played together at UCSB for 2 seasons (05-06). We won the 2006 NCAA title, and Pontius played a huge, huge part throughout that season. Funny thing is, during the 2006 Championship season Pontius covered me playing right half, but at D.C United he has been a staple attacking player. There is no doubt that he is Mr. Versatility! In his rookie season he scored eight goals and six assists in 40 total appearances (31 starts) in all competitions, and was a finalist for the Gatorade Rookie of the year award. On top of that, he won the D.C United Fan’s choice for player of the year. Here is what Pontius had to say:
“My rookie year was amazing and I am so blessed to have been given this opportunity to play professional soccer. Being a rookie is not easy, it is like being a freshman in college all over again except you have guys 10 years older than you on your team. They experience and knowledge of the game is amazing and I found myself taking tips from them every practice and game. I am pumped to have the opportunity to head to South Africa, there are a few guys I played college with at UCSB going (Avila, O’Brien) and it is sure to be a life experience aswell as an opportunity to see where the World Cup will take place next year.
I currently wear the F50 tunits from adidas in white. I really like the cleats because they fit my foot well and are comfortable. For me, the right cleat is always the one that fits the best and allows you to play your best soccer. We played on a number of different surfaces this season, and in different environments, which means I am constantly changing from hard grounds to soft grounds. The weather is the biggest factor for this along with the condition of the field. 95% of the time when its raining, I am wearing soft grounds.”
Personally, I think Pontius should have won Rookie of the year for his goals alone! Thanks Chris for taking the time to talk to us and hopefully the trip to South Africa is an opportunity for you to prepare for a USMT call up between now and the World Cup! There is another Q&A available over on the official D.C United Blog (Behind the Badge) that is well worth checking out: Q&A: Pontius and Wallace on South Africa trip.