Last season at this time, the Impact had two goalkeepers on its roster at 35 years of age, so there was lots of experience in goal to start training camp.
This season, Troy Perkins is the veteran at just 31 years of age, with Evan Bush (26), SuperDraft pickup Brad Stuver (21) and Academy product Maxime Crepeau (18) all working hard in preseason.
And Perkins understands that his leadership will be important this season, especially to his fellow goalkeepers.
“I’m not as old as Alessandro Nesta, so I’m still OK. He is the wily veteran on this team,” Perkins said jokingly. “But seriously, it’s great to be considered a leader. For me, my job is to make sure these young keepers come to work every day, by setting the standard very high. If we slack a little, it catches on real quick through the group so we have to remain focused at all times.”
A new philosophy
And Perkins believes that this group has a solid group of leaders, starting with the club’s head coach.
“He has a very different philosophy,” added the former U.S. national team keeper. “It’s the opposite of peeling away the layers of an onion, its putting the onion together, with layers and level of growing together.”
“Seriously, it’s great to be considered a leader”
With a new philosophy come a new system and a new direction, and Perkins feels his experience can help identify where a balance is needed to be successful in MLS.
“We are trying to build out of the back and play an entertaining game. We have to be comfortable playing a quick game and yet, understand the danger of keeping it too long.”
However, this new philosophy hasn’t been the hardest thing Perkins has had to adapt to this preseason.
“You know what? Living in Oslo, Norway (played three seasons with Valarenga), I thought at the time that their winters would be the coldest I’d ever experience in my life,” he said with a grimace on his face. “My kid wakes up and says to me there is snow inside his room!”