Aaron Schoenfeld showed promise early in the 2012 season as the perfect replacement for injured target forward Tommy Heinemann. Let go by the Montreal Impact during training camp, the Crew pounced on the opportunity to sign the 6 foot 4 inch rookie striker from East Tennessee State University. Schoenfeld went on to make six straight appearances, including two starts for the Black & Gold.
However, a foot injury early on in the Crew's April 28 match against Vancouver derailed the striker's development for two months. Schoenfeld returned from a ruptured plantar fascia on Saturday against Chicago.
"I was a little nervous coming back from the injury because I know how easy it was to do it in the first place," the rookie said. "It just gives me a little confidence going out there and being able to play without pain."
As the Crew searches for answers offensively, head coach Robert Warzycha is happy to have Schoenfeld back in the mix.
"It's good that some guys are coming back from injury," Warzycha explained. "Obviously, (Schoenfeld) is a good forward and then we can do some other things tactically."
While Schoenfeld was sidelined, Columbus went unbeaten in six matches. The rookie was happy for the team, but wishes he could have been part of the team's success.
"It was definitely tough because they're out there being successful and you want to be a part of the success, "At the same time, when they're winning it makes it a lot easier on you. You don't feel the pressure to get back. I was really happy to see them winning."
Now healthy, the rookie is working to get back to the fitness and form he had early in the season.
"Getting fitness back, I'm feeling these little aches and pains I haven't felt in eight weeks sitting down," Schoenfeld explained.
"I don't feel like I'm exactly back to where I was," the striker continued. "I don't think my fitness is there yet. I'm not sharp enough yet, but it's coming fast. As this week goes on, hopefully I'll start to see more improvements."
As for Schoenfeld's long-term development, Warzycha said the rookie is the master of his own fate.
"He has good feet and size. Obviously, that's very good for a forward. He has exceptional speed and he's pretty good in the air," Warzycha said. "It's up to him. He's on the right path and he's doing the right things, so I think we have a very good player."