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April 22, 2013 at 12:19 PM

A stop and chat with rookie Will Bates

Bates mug 2013Reporters got a chance to catch up with Will Bates after Monday’s practice. The rookie forward signed with the Sounders on Friday following a couple months of rehab from knee surgery and then shin splints.

Here is the full transcript of the interview:

*     *     *

(How does it feel to be under contract?) “Yeah, it’s good. It’s always been a dream to become a professional soccer player, since I was a kid. After two months of being here and rehabbing, I’m grateful for the time they gave me to get back on the field, so it’s nice to be here.”

(How was that time battling back from injury?) “It was up and down. Sometimes I’d be having good days, and then it’d be a bad day. Just up and down, highs and lows, but you just have to tell yourself to keep going. Eventually, once I got back on the field, everything came easier.”

(What do you remember from the draft process, having production that maybe warranted being taken higher but maybe slipping because of the knee injury?) “It definitely wasn’t how I planned it with the injury and surgery and stuff. I think it maybe changed things up a little bit, but I think that was a little fuel and motivation — that I wasn’t drafted in (the SuperDraft) and seeing my name get passed. Then when the Sounders gave me a chance, it gave me every reason to come out here and fight every day to try and earn a spot on this team.”

(Did you know the Sounders would be this patient with you?) “No, I didn’t know what to expect quite honestly. The main thing was to get healthy. I think there was going to be a place for me to play somewhere if I could get healthy again, so I wasn’t too worried about that. I just had to take it day by day. That was the advice I got from a lot of the older guys, just take it day by day, don’t think too far in advance and just work on getting back on the field.”

(Who were some of those older guys you leaned on?) “Shalrie and Pat Ianni. They were big influences because both of them were coming back form injury and getting fit. I was in the gym most days, not even on the training field with the rest of the guys, so those two were really big influences on me coming back and staying positive.”

(What’s next for you looking ahead?) “Just keep working hard day in and day out. We all have dreams, but I didn’t come here to be a practice player. Just got to start from the bottom and work your way up slowing through the reserves, and when that opportunity comes you have to make the most of it. Just keep working hard.”

(How would you describe yourself as a player?) “Target forward. Hold the ball up well. Good with my back to goal. I like to get in front of the goal and just stay inside the 18 and work for crosses from the outside mids and little slant runs from the center midfielders. Just take my chances when I get them, too.”

(How much did you know about the Sounders organization coming in?) “Obviously I was excited because it’s one of the best places to play, if not the best place to play. We have the largest fan base in the league, so I was excited to get out there. It’s just such a cool environment to play in, and you don’t get that everywhere else in the league. Plus, it’s a good team that’s had great results in the past few years, and we hope to continue that.”

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