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December 19, 2011 at 11:35 AM

A stop and chat with local MLS standout George John

john mug.jpgAs mentioned a few days ago, Shoreline native George John had his jersey retired at Shorewood High School on Thursday. The 24-year-old has starred in his three years in MLS with FC Dallas and his career is certainly on the up as he continues to draw interest from European teams.

I actually covered John for a couple seasons at the University of Washington, when he was a multi-talented central midfielder for the Huskies and I was a student reporter for The Daily. I caught up with him over the weekend for a chat regarding the jersey retirement and some offseason updates:

* * *

(What was it like having your high-school jersey retired Thursday night?) “It was a surprise when I found out they were going to do it. It’s a huge honor and it was a lot of fun. I hadn’t really been back to Shorewood since I was there — I don’t have any younger siblings that went there — so it’d been a while. But it was a lot of fun. A lot my old friends came back and it was a good, memorable experience.”

(Do you remember when you first heard about them wanting to do that?) “I think it was a couple months ago or during the summer possibly. I’m not really sure exactly when they decided, but they made it work out so that it was when I was back home during the offseason.”

(Why was it so surprising? The fact that you’re so early into your professional career?) “Yeah. I’d say so. And I think more than anything that nobody else had had it done at my school before. I think the school’s proud of me, so it was a lot of fun — a great memory.”

(And then you came back to the school the next morning?) “Yeah, I went back to Shorewood and spoke to the (soccer) teams during a break period. That was a lot of fun, just taking their questions and having a good time.”

(Do your offseason plans generally involve coming back home or did you come back specifically for this event?) “I usually come home in the offseason for at least a couple weeks, especially for Christmas.”

(You’ve been in Dallas now for three years, are you still a Northwest guy or are you becoming more of a Texas guy?) “I’m definitely a Northwest guy, born and raised here. I’ll never get it out of my system. But I’ve definitely become cultured in Texas ways and Dallas ways, so I’m a little more used to it and comfortable than I was my rookie year.”

(So do your family and friends here have split allegiances when it comes to FC Dallas and the Sounders?) “I think my family enjoys watching the sport a lot, so they support Dallas and the Sounders. My parents have season tickets for the Sounders, but when we’re playing against each other I’d like to think that they’re rooting for Dallas.”

(This past year has been a little bit crazy for you. Dallas was involved in three competitions and had a lot going on. There was news surrounding your career on multiple fronts. Has the offseason been more of the same or have you been able to get a little bit of a break?) “I’ve been able to get a little bit of a break, which has been nice. It was definitely a very exciting year with a lot changes and things happening in my career. This offseason has been good for me to regroup and hopefully I can start off strong next season and just go from there.”

(In terms of your club future, I think I heard recently that you’re comfortable at FC Dallas right now, but also keeping your ears open and listening to possibilities presented to you. Is that a fair characterization?) “Yeah, definitely. I have options right now, which is good. I’m excited about my future and I have one year left on my contract with Dallas, so that’s where I stand right now. Where it goes from there, who knows? Right now, I’m looking forward to next season with Dallas.”

(The soccer world can be a little crazy with the transfer talk. I have to think this past year was the most you’ve had to deal with it. How do you handle the speculation and interest in your next career move?) “I don’t really notice any of it because I don’t read too much media. All that stuff’s going on and I don’t have a clue about it until somebody tells me. I try to just control what I read and hear so things don’t really mess with your head too much. That’s kind of how I get by that.”

(And with your national team future, are things still how they’ve been? Also options still open there?) “Yeah, exactly. All I can do is keep playing my best and just wait and see.”

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