FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Steve Neumann hasn’t spent the first few weeks of his professional soccer career exactly how he’d hoped, primarily because he hasn’t played much soccer.
The No. 4 overall selection in this year’s SuperDraft was an injured bystander during the New England Revolution’s recent 12-day stay in Bradenton, Fla., having rolled his left ankle shortly before camp opened. While his teammates built their fitness and regained their sharpness with a trio of preseason matches, Neumann was frustratingly forced to watch from the sidelines.
It was far from an ideal scenario, particularly for a rookie in the early stages of adjusting to a new league, a new club and a new set of teammates. But Neumann made the most of the situation, observing each training session and match as keenly as possible in the hopes that knowledge gained will make his transition as smooth as possible once back on the field.
“I’m a pretty observant player, so I think I picked up on a lot of guys’ tendencies and everything like that; playing style and tactics,” Neumann said. “Now it’ll just be a matter of getting out there and playing with the guys – which is the most important part – and just feeling acclimated and getting comfortable with everyone’s playing style and tendencies.”
Neumann, who admitted that he’s “itching to get on the field,” will finally have the chance to play alongside his new teammates in the very near future, barring any unforeseen setbacks. The 22-year-old hybrid forward/midfielder went through some passing drills on Monday morning and expects to be back in full training by the end of the week.
Should everything proceed according to plan, Neumann will be fit just in time for the Revolution’s second preseason trip to Tucson, Ariz., where the club will play four games against MLS opposition in the Desert Diamond Cup. While Neumann understands he’ll need to play a bit of catch-up after missing the first few weeks, he’s very much looking forward to truly beginning his professional career.
“Obviously it was tough not being able to join the guys right away from the start, but getting in now will definitely be good,” he said. “It’s not necessarily the worst thing to build up some strength before the year and I think my fitness is still very good right now, so it’s just a matter of getting in, putting in the hard work now and kind of making up for lost time.”