Thursday, January 16, 2014

Interview: Draftee Eric Stevenson opens up about playing in New York


Most have said this draft has been a down year and not much has been expected of this class outside the top 10 players taken. That's why Eric Stevenson is trying to break the mold. Selected 34th by the New York Red Bulls, Stevenson is ready to embrace the challenge that's in front of him.

"I was beyond excited (to get the call from New York)," said the 22 year old "I watched the team play a decent amount last season and I love Red Bull's style of play. I couldn't think of a better fit for me."

"(Petke) just said he was excited to have me on board and made sure I felt very welcomed. He made sure I was sorted with all the details and everything I needed to know for the upcoming season."

Stevenson's career at Akron had been highlighted by winning a national championship in 2010 and slowly started becoming more ingrained with the team over the years. By his senior year, Stevenson had seen many of his former teammates turn professional. 

"A lot of the past teammates of mine from Akron had gone on to the pros so over the years I have watched a lot of (MLS) games." 

"I was part of the (Columbus) Crew academy and then I played with the Seattle Sounders PDL team, so I have had the chance to be around pro players and MLS organizations."

Delving into the fanatical side of his soccer life, Stevenson is a long time Barcelona and Arsenal fan.  

"I have been an Arsenal and Barca fan for forever, so getting the chance to actually play with (Thierry) Henry is going to be an absolute honor."

"I never imagined growing up that I would play with Henry so it's still crazy for me to think about, I can't wait!"

Although a talented, and hard working player, Stevenson knows he still has some work to do to become a weapon in New York.

"I would say growing my knowledge of the game and adjusting to the pace of MLS would be the biggest things. Also, it will be important for me to absorb as much about the game as I can from the veteran players like Henry."

All that being said, it seems like the 5' 8" man from Ohio is ready to embrace New York and the challenges that lie ahead.

"I heard New York Red Bulls have the best fans in the country so I look forward to getting the chance to play in front of them the most."

-Marc Kusant (@TheRedestBull)

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