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February 1, 2011 at 6:06 PM

Brad Evans on midfield competition: I’m ready for the battle

evans arizona.jpgPhoto credit: Seattle Sounders FC

Sounders FC midfielder Brad Evans (above) missed the last 17 league games of the 2010 season. Here’s a story I’ve written for tomorrow’s paper about his comeback and below I’ve posted the transcript of the chat reporters had with Evans before the team left for Arizona.

Personally, I think he could be the difference this season and he’s looked good in training so far.

* * *

(Was there a time you felt particularly strong in your recovery? Where you could do something you hadn’t been able to do?) “Yeah, I think I turned the corner in the middle of December. For whatever reason, the proper amount of time off accompanied with the PRP shots I took that weren’t supposed to work for a couple of months — so it all just kind of came together at the right time. The middle of December is when I started feeling good and started working out with Dave (Tenney) five days a week.”

(Do you feel any less than 100-percent in terms of the injury?) “In terms of the injury I don’t feel anything at all right now, which is positive. I feel a little bit of weakness maybe, but nothing other than that. I think that (getting over that) just comes with playing. There’s only so much you can do fitness-wise, but nothing is game-like. Nothing can replicate the game. We can do the beep test for the next six weeks every day, but you get into your first game and you’re dead after 45 minutes. I think that’ll come with playing and practicing.”

(How difficult was the mental side of being out?) “I think that was the tough part for me because I was in and out off the mix — three and four times — trying to make it back. That was probably the toughest part, so for me, when I finally did have a meeting with Sigi and the training staff that we’re going to shut it down, that was sort of a mental relief for me. I was able to step back and really focus on fixing my injury. Really not too much forcing myself back in and having that stress of coming back, because I think the stress was probably the hardest part. The mental side is probably the hardest of it. Once I was mentally strong enough to go five days a week, and also physically, I think everything turned around from there.”

(How do you balance wanting to earn that spot and not overexerting yourself?) “It’s tough because these coaches, especially Schmetzer and Ezra, they want to see you do your best. At the same time they want to push you as hard as you can. So finding the balance between trying to appease the coaches and trying to stay healthy is difficult, especially with a coach like Schmetzer that’s on you 24-7. But it’s good because if we didn’t have anyone pushing us we’d probably take it too light. There are times when I need to be pushed and I’ll push myself obviously to my capabilities because at this point (center midfield) is not anybody’s role in particular. It’s a role that’s going to be fought for. I’m ready for the battle.”

(How much of a vote of confidence was it when the team to protect you?) “I think that was the best thing I could ask for in that situation was being protected. From my standpoint, that’s something where I have to work extra hard, especially being in here everyday in the offseason. (I want to show) them that obviously I appreciate what the club has done for me also. I’m not just going to sit back and watch while somebody takes my spot.”

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