FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Cody Cropper joined the New England Revolution last August in search of consistent first-team minutes, and for the first time in his young career, he found them in 2017.
The seven years Cropper spent in England were critical for his development as he spent time in the systems of both Ipswich Town and Southampton, but he totaled just nine senior appearances (all during a year-long stint with Milton Keynes Dons) and returned to the States in search of games.
Cropper, still relatively young for a goalkeeper at the age of 24, established himself as a starter for most of the 2017 campaign, featuring in 28 games and keeping eight clean sheets during his first real run as a first-choice goalkeeper at the senior level.
While there were bumps in the road, Cropper has internalized both the positives and negatives from those experiences, and he’s confident they’ll make him a better goalkeeper moving forward.
“It was full of highs and lows,” Cropper said of his first complete MLS season. “I had a lot of good games, and I had a handful of bad games. I think there’s a lot for me to take away to the offseason to watch film, to learn from my mistakes, to compare to other goalkeepers, and to really build on that and come back in the new year refreshed and ready to go.
“I want to have another full season of games and look to build on that, and look to get into a consistent groove and take further steps in my career.”
Cropper’s top objective when preseason camp kicks off next month will be to impress his new head coach, Brad Friedel, whose wildly successful 23-year playing career as a goalkeeper could prove beneficial in Cropper’s continued development.
Friedel’s arrival and the promise of a fresh start has Cropper and his teammates excited for the coming season, as they look to bounce back following a pair of frustrating campaigns.
“I think it’ll be great to see how everybody comes back and ready for the new season,” Cropper said. “I know I’m going to be ready and I know that everybody in the locker room is going to be ready, so I’m excited to see what the new year brings.”