New England Soccer Today

Rookie Sanchez Seeks Constant Improvement

Photo: New England Revolution

Photo: New England Revolution

BOSTON – Confidence is everything when you’re playing at the highest level, and it was something that Jossimar Sanchez needed to get back going into Revolution preseason camp as a non-rostered participant.

Less than four months before he was selected by the Revolution in the 2013 Supplemental Draft, the University of Connecticut defender broke his leg in a midseason match against Marquette.

The recovery process lasted nearly a year before he was able to train with the Revolution, but even then, nothing was guaranteed.  All he was afforded was a chance. A chance that he know he couldn’t take advantage of until he put the injury fully behind him.

“Coming into this preseason, I just wanted to be as confident as I could,” Sanchez said. “I wasn’t doubting myself as a player, it was just confidence going into tackles, and things like that, being off the ball for seven months was a challenge, so that also affected me, but I was able to come out of it with a positive.”

But that positive – earning a professional contract – didn’t come without a long and arduous recovery. He spent countless hours in the sweltering heat of a New England summer working on the basics behind the scenes. After all, you have to crawl before you can walk again.

“The injury was a setback, 100% it was,” Sanchez said. “I was able to keep training at school, and then bring my confidence back up and come in, I like to think, stronger and fitter than I was before.”

New England, which kept Sanchez’s rights despite not having him under contract, invited him to train in Foxborough toward the tail end of last summer before bringing him back for the 2014 preseason. And according to Sanchez, the objective the coaching staff handed to him was simple, yet challenging at the same time.

“They just wanted me to play as hard as I could,” Sanchez said. “I’m playing right back, which is kind of a new position for me, I’m used to playing the center, but they just guided me through it and helped me out every day with it.”

Despite manning a new spot, Sanchez showed himself plenty capable at right back during the preseason. He played in six of the club’s seven games, and showed a knack for delivering a decent throw-in, as well. Not bad for a guy who, essentially, was getting his first taste of the pro game.

“Coming out of college, I felt like (the competition in MLS) was close,” Sanchez said. “But MLS is different, the speed’s fast, everyone’s strong, and it’s a good environment. It was fun and the level of competition is very impressive.”

Sanchez admits, though, that he is far from a polished product. While he may have made his way onto the roster, he’ll continue to approach his new job with the same credo that helped him attain it.

“Just get better every day,” Sanchez said. “I’ve been working hard since before I got here and now that I’m here on the team, keep working hard and pushing myself to do better every day.”

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