A little over a month ago, Cristian Roldan sat on the other side of the country, waiting to hear his name be called by his future club.
What a month it’s been.
After being chosen in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft in Philadelphia, Roldan traveled back to Seattle to join the team alongside former University of Washington teammate Darwin Jones.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Roldan said in January following his first training session.
With two preseason trips behind him and his game minutes beginning to accumulate, he’s found himself at the end of his first camp with the Rave Green.
“It’s been great. I think I’ve been getting better every practice,” the rookie midfielder said on Monday following the team’s training session. “My confidence is definitely going up and I’m glad I had the opportunity to play.”
His effort in training has earned him those spots, as he’s found himself on the pitch for the Sounders in two preseason scrimmages against the LA Galaxy and Minnesota United FC. In addition, he has picked up minutes in matches during the Desert Diamond Cup, most recently Saturday’s match against Sporting Kansas City.
“I think we came out with energy, and we came out with a message,” Roldan said of his second-half sub on for the team.
The second half brought a wholesale change in the Sounders roster, with a mix of both returning and new players coming on. The team scored two goals to come within reach of Sporting KC, but ultimately fell 3-2.
While the team still has a week in Tucson packed with training and matches, Roldan is focusing on the basics.
“I’m trying to get my fitness,” noting that preseason is the time for him to improve on game-fitness in order to be most impactful as he moves towards the regular season. “I think confidence is a big issue and I think if I play well, I’ll have confidence going into the season. I think we can all use that.”
The team will have two more chances to build that confidence, including Wednesday’s Desert Diamond Cup match against New England Revolution. It’ll be the first chance for both teams to eye up the opposition ahead of their opening weekend matchup at CenturyLink Field.
First kick is already on Roldan’s mind, especially as someone who watched the season begin in 2014 from the stands.
“I couldn’t be more excited. Last year, I went to the first game the Sounders had at home. Now that I can be a part of that, it’s a great feeling.”
As training draws to a close, Roldan is focused on continuing his personal growth as a player and building chemistry with his teammates on the pitch.
“What we work on in preseason is playing as a group and trying to get better as a group. That’ll come hopefully March 8 with a ‘W’.”