It’s rather easy to tell that Aaron Kovar is passionate about his profession and eager to improve his game.
During his rookie season, Kovar was often the one who stayed after training to take extra free kicks and shots on goal. After he made the pass that set up the go-ahead assist in Sounders FC’s friendly with Tottenham Hotspur, Kovar sprinted toward fellow Homegrown Player Sean Okoli and jumped into his arms for a giant hug.
Kovar didn't see the field as much in his first year with Sounders FC as he would have wished, however. He made just three MLS appearances as a substitute for a total of 25 minutes. Over the offseason, Kovar showed once again how badly he wants to earn playing time, going to England and training with Sheffield Wednesday F.C. for a couple of weeks before Seattle began its preseason.
“It was a great experience,” Kovar said. “It was cool seeing such an old club and comparing it to Seattle. It made me appreciate Seattle, and I really enjoyed my time over there.”
Sheffield Wednesday F.C., which plays in the Football League Championship (the second-highest division in England), is one of the oldest clubs in professional soccer. It is the team legendary U.S. National Team midfielder John Harkes played for when he became the first American to make an appearance in the English Premier League.
Kovar participated in normal training with the club, trying to pick up anything he could from the veterans on the team.
“If anything it was nice getting to play competitively for two weeks before I had to be here,” said Kovar, who missed Seattle’s first training session on Saturday but was back on Monday. “It’s almost like I have two weeks of preseason done already. It’s just a nice little boost.”
Kovar’s hard work paid off at training on Monday. The 21-year-old midfielder won the first of two groups in the beep test, a drill that measures a player’s fitness level heading into training camp.
Kovar says he spent a lot of time in the offseason working with Dave Tenney, the club’s Manager of Performance and Sports Science. He feels sharp with just over a month to go until the season, one in which the Seattle native hopes to continue improving his game and make an impact for Sounders FC.
“I feel a lot more comfortable, especially with the guys in the locker room,” he said. “It should be a big year, and I’m looking forward to it."