Earlier this week, Rauwshan McKenzie announced his 2013 contract option had been picked up, and it looks like the 26-year old defender is set to stay with Chivas USA next season. With that, we thought we'd check in with Rauwshan in his offseason and talk about 2012, his goals, and much more. Many thanks to him for taking the time to answer our questions!
The Goat Parade: First of all, congratulations on your option being picked up for next season. How do you feel about that development?
Rauwshan McKenzie: It's nice to hear something. We've kind of all been waiting - obviously the fans, the media and then the players and the front office and stuff. Just been waiting to see what's going to happen with the team and just to get any news now, especially when it's positive news, it's great.
TGP: So let's go back to the start of your time with Chivas. You were signed in the preseason, after spending time in Salt Lake and Kansas City. How did you end up with Chivas, and did you have an adjustment in joining the team?
RM: Over the offseason last year I had spoken with Robin a couple times, and he had said that he was interested in bringing me in, just to see if I could win a spot as back-up and I was fine with that. Coming into the year John [Valencia] got hurt I think it was the first week, and I had to jump in there and I think it was a learning process. I think I developed and grew with each game I played. For me, coming into the year I told myself my main goal was to try and get as many games as I can. I think it was good.
Obviously with the team, we struggled a little bit, but hopefully we can get some guys back and improve going into next year.
TGP: You played far more with Chivas in 2012 than previously in your career. What did you think about your season overall?
RM: I thought I started off all right. I think towards the end with it being the most games I'd played my body got a little bit tired. Overall I think I did ok. I held my own. I maybe had one or two really good games, but obviously I'm always trying to get better, and there's definitely room to improve.
TGP: Obviously, the team struggled this season as a group. What do you think accounted for those struggles?
RM: I think we have a lot of great individual players, but it's a team sport. It was a lot of new faces. I would say that playing together for the first time, and during the year, you definitely saw at times that the team could play and could hold their own against some of the better teams in the league. I definitely think we maybe need a little bit more time, I know it was a year. But if you look at some of the really good teams in the league, Real, Seattle, LA, they had guys on the same team that have been there for a long time.
TGP: What have you been up to so far this offseason? Are you training right now?
RM: I'm back training, working out every day. I usually come back every offseason [to Chicago]. There's an indoor place [with] a couple of pro guys, USL guys, and you have your college players come. It's really good competition. It's nice to be able to play and get on the ball. I usually do that for a couple of weeks. Just trying to stay in shape and get ready for the preseason.
TGP: Do you have any personal goals in mind next season?
RM: I just want to win games. I just want to help my team win games, whatever team I'm on, doesn't matter. I just want to fight for my teammates. I'm just a really competitive guy, which I know most guys are around the league. I just want to win. That's it, really.
TGP: Let's finish with this very important question: what's your favorite taco spot in Southern California?
RM: You know, people are going to kill me for this. I haven't gone out too much. I've been to a place in San Pedro called Acapulco, which is pretty good. I'm always up for any recommendation. If anyone's got something, I'll go check it out.
Well, what are your taco-related suggestions for Rauwshan? Leave a comment below!