New England Soccer Today

A Quick Study

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It all happened so fast for Revolution rookie forward Femi Hollinger-Janzen.

Within the course of a hectic, five-day stretch in March, the 2016 third-round pick went from unsigned rookie trialist to newly-minted professional to MLS debutante. While it may have felt like a blur on the whole, Hollinger-Janzen admitted that it wasn’t quick enough to escape a textbook case of rookie jitters.

“I just remember I was really very, very nervous,” Hollinger-Janzen said of his MLS debut, which occurred in the 75th minute of a 3-0 loss at Philadelphia on Mar. 20. “I was trying to get my warmup top off, I was shaking and all the emotions were going through me at the time.”

But the adrenaline was still rushing even after stepping onto the Talen Energy Stadium field, where he did his best to help the short-handed Revolution make a bid for a consolation goal.

“I kind of blacked out in a way (during) the first five minutes,” Hollinger-Janzen said. “I felt comfortable after that and I got my first pass in, and after that, I felt right at home playing soccer.”

The Indiana alum’s debut may not have come during the most pressure-packed scenario. That would come soon enough, though.

Six days after his debut, Hollinger-Janzen entered a 1-1 game at New York City FC in the 80th minute. With the Revolution still in pursuit of their first win, the rookie forward was asked to help his squad get the game-winner.

While the Revolution were forced to settle for the draw at Yankee Stadium, Hollinger-Janzen had no qualms about being thrown into the proverbial fire.

“The pressure’s nice, sometimes,” Hollinger-Janzen said while comparing the markedly different scenarios seen during his first two games.

The record will show that the Indiana alum has certainly risen to the occasion. Despite the fact that he was the last player selected by the Revolution during the SuperDraft, he became the first rookie to see the field this year while fellow draft classmates Jordan McCrary and Michael Gamble have yet to make their debuts.

When asked what he believes has made him a front-runner for first-team minutes, Hollinger-Janzen unsurprisingly invoked a primary tenant of Jay Heaps’ coaching philosophy.

“I think the hard work,” Hollinger-Janzen said. “I just think that day in, and day out, I bring the hard word and my game, and doing what I do best.”

He said he’s also sought the advice of fellow strikers Charlie Davies and Teal Bunbury, both of whom have taken the rookie under their wing.

“They have been a really big help playing the same positions as me,” Hollinger-Janzen said. “They’ve been helping me positionally and where to be, and mentally to be confident and aggressive when I go in.”

While he’s put in the work on the practice pitch, he’s also gotten up to speed on the fast pace of MLS action.

“You just have to know what you’re doing with the ball before you get it,” Hollinger-Janzen said. “If you’re one second slow, you’re going to get it taken away from you.”

To date, Hollinger-Janzen has made three appearances, the most recent coming in the waning minutes of Friday’s win over the New York Red Bulls – a game that he admits wasn’t quite as nerve-wracking as that first one.

“I’m a little more calm going into these games,” Hollinger-Janzen said, “which is nice because I’m able to just relax and play. It’s very exciting because it means the hard work I’m putting in during practices is paying off, and I have to just keep doing that.”

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