With difficult sophomore season behind him, Rose ready for 2014

The talented young Englishman excited for what third year in MLS has to offer.

There is a natural excitement that comes with every new season. For Andy Rose, that truth is amplified in 2014.

After a tremendous rookie season in 2012 in which he earned 11 starts in his 23 appearances, Rose had a slow start to the 2013 season and by the time he found his rhythm, he had trouble cracking the starting lineup. Now, with a fresh start on a new season, he is optimistic about what he can bring to Sounders FC as a vocal player in the midfield. He is also out to prove that he has made strides since that slow start in 2013.

“I’m just very excited. I thought I had a strong end to the year. I was training really well and I thought I was a little bit unfortunate to not be playing more toward the end of the season,” Rose said. “With this group, it’s tough to get a run of games when you’re not in top form because we have such a talented squad. So once you do get three or four games in, you feel good. You feel confident and that’s what I’m looking for – to get a good start and go the distance.”

Just how Rose responds to a season that didn’t meet his own standards is very telling of his personality. Always strong with his fitness, Rose was again among the best finishers in the team’s annual endurance testing, but he has also put focus on other aspects of his game.

“His head is definitely in the right place right now,” Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. “I think he came through that and it was a good learning experience for him. I think he’s ready to have a really good year.”

Now, Rose is approaching the season with a slightly different mentality.

“I have a little bit of a chip on my shoulder. I didn’t think the year went as smoothly as it should have, so I’m raring to go,” he said. “I want to get my form 100-percent and show really well in preseason and prove that I should be in the talk for the top 11.”

Though in just his third MLS season, Rose has a strong personality and is a student of the game that can make an impact on teammates with his openness to conversation about his own position as well as that of others.

That type of leadership can help Seattle early in the preseason, particularly in the absences of Clint Dempsey and Brad Evans, whose inevitable mid-season absences to play with the U.S. National Team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in June could mean playing time for Rose. However, Rose won’t simply wait until the summer to try to work himself into the lineup.

“I think I bring certain qualities to the table that make us a better team when I’m playing well,” he said. “I’ll bring what I bring to the table and work as hard as I possibly can and hopefully that’s something that we need on the pitch.”

Schmid doesn’t disagree with Rose’s assessment.

“It’s an important year for him. You’re looking at a situation where in the summer we’re going to be missing Clint Dempsey and most likely Brad Evans for a good chunk of time. That’s a couple of spots in the midfield area and that’s where Andy plays,” Schmid said. “He knows as he looks forward that he’s going to have a chance there. If it’s not at the beginning of the season, there’s going to be an opportunity where he’s going to have to show that he can do it week in and week out.”

Sounders FC is training in Tucson, Ariz., until February 9 and will play four matches in that time. The first comes next Wednesday against the San Jose Earthquakes.

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