By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It has been a tumultuous season for the Philadelphia Union to say the least, as they sit at 2-8-2 after Saturday night’s frustrating 1-0 loss at home to D.C. United.
However, in interim team manager John Hackworth’s debut at the helm, the Union outplayed D.C. for much of the match and fans got the chance to see some of the Union’s young talent on display – including forward Chandler Hoffman.
A first-round pick of the Union in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft (13th overall) out of UCLA, Hoffman played the final 16 minutes of Saturday’s game and that marked just his third appearance in MLS action.
The 21-year-old Hoffman admits it has been tough adjusting to his limited role to this point as a rookie.
“For the past 12-14 years you’ve been playing soccer, you’ve been the guy to go score goals and win games for the team,” Hoffman told KYW Newsradio after Saturday’s match. “Now you’re just scrapping to try and get in the 18, so it’s definitely a different mindset and a different experience. But it’s one that I’m trying to embrace and trying to use to get better.”
Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with Chandler Hoffman:
Hoffman says when he has gotten opportunities, he has done his best to try and not do too much.
“It’s tough trying to find the balance of trying to score the goals and trying to just be productive on the field and trying to prove that you belong. But you don’t want to turn the ball over or make a costly mistake. So it’s definitely tough trying to find that balance.”
Obviously, being a high draft pick brings with it a lot of attention and excitement, but Hoffman says it didn’t take long for the reality of pro soccer to set in.
“Definitely when you are in preseason and for 14 days straight you are going double-days, you realize that this is life now. So you have to take each day as your job, so that’s when it really set in, those two trips in preseason.”
One thing Hoffman can say for sure here as a rookie – he really enjoys playing in front of the Union faithful.
“Yeah, it’s amazing, I had only seen the games on TV and it doesn’t do it justice. When I scored my first goal against FC Schalke 04 (in an international friendly) it was definitely a cool experience. Just how passionate the fans are has been really cool to see.”
Hoffman and the Union return to action Saturday night when they host Sporting KC.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.