With Chivas USA in the midst of preseason training camp, we decided to check in with one of the players. Patrick McLain joined the Goats last season, and while he didn't get on the field for a competitive match in 2012, he trained hard and backed up Dan Kennedy and Tim Melia several times. Yesterday, he started in the first preseason scrimmage, and by all accounts had a solid half between the posts.
In this interview, McLain discusses his beginnings in soccer, last season, what he thinks of Chivas USA coach Chelís so far, and tacos. Thanks to Patrick for taking the time to answer our questions!
The Goat Parade: How did you first get into soccer?
Patrick McLain: My journey started when I was about five years old, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. I played there for a number of years, before venturing out and playing in an elite level team in Minnesota, which was a two hour commute each way. From there, I was recruited to Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, at which time I went there and became the starter for three years. I came to Chivas after that and obviously I've been here since then.
TGP: So do you miss the winters?
PM: (Laughs) Absolutely not. I got home for about a month in the offseason, and it was brutal. Living in Southern California, in particular, you forget what the drastic seasons are like. It was definitely a long reminder of what winter was like.
TGP: What was your experience like with the team last season?
PM: Overall it's always good to have a year under your belt, and to be completely honest, last year was frustrating, I think, for everybody involved. It's tough to lose that many times as a competitor. It's always frustrating to have a losing season, and it really forces you to look at yourself in the mirror, and try to figure out what exactly you need to do better in order to help your team win. There was a lot of inward reflection going on last season for everybody, including myself. I just hope that I've grown from that experience, and that I can provide whatever service they demand of me as best I can this year.
TGP: Being on the same team as Dan Kennedy - obviously tough to break into the first team, but have you been able to learn from him along the way?
PM: Yeah, Dan's a great pro, he knows the ins and outs of what it takes to be successful at this level. I've learned a lot from him from a technical aspect and from a professional aspect. It's been great having him as a mentor and somebody I can come to with questions. It's been great in that respect.
TGP: The goalkeeping coach is the only holdover from last year, but what has been different so far in camp from what you saw last year?
PM: The biggest changes I've noticed so far is with Chelis coming in is that he knows what he wants in all aspects, he knows exactly what he expects in all regards, and he sticks to it, and there's no compromising, it's his way and it's the best way. I think so far everybody has been buying into it. I really enjoy that aspect. I like that he knows exactly what he wants and knows exactly how to be successful, because obviously he's been very successful in his career so far.
AR: How's your Spanish?
PM: (Laughs) My Spanish is coming along, not too quickly unfortunately. I'm working on it. It's obviously difficult to learn a new language at any time. I can communicate on the field, it's just off the field that I have difficulty communicating in Spanish. When we're going through drills, and when we're playing in practice, I can communicate enough to let the Latino players know what I want. So from that aspect I think I am doing ok, but overall, my Spanish is not there yet.
TGP: What is your personal goal this season?
PM: It's always to be the best, and be on the field, because that's how we measure ourselves. But my goals are to help Chivas to the playoffs, help Chivas to a championship in whatever role I'm asked to play in that journey, I'll do that. I just want to spend another year being the best version of myself that I can, helping the team to success.
TGP: Finally: Favorite taco place in Southern California?
PM: Can I use a family's household? Bob and Nancy Oseguera's house is my favorite taco place.
TGP: I take it they aren't taking reservations?
PM: No. (Laughs) But that's hands down the best tacos I've ever had. It's my roommates' parents, they actually took me in at the beginning of last season until I was able to find a place, and I'm very grateful to them.
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