In preparation for next week's 2015 MLS SuperDraft, ColumbusCrewSC.com caught up with the Black & Gold's third-round selection in 2014, Adam Bedell, to look back on his first year in Columbus.
ColumbusCrewSC.com: Your situation was a little unique. Under the radar, you were invited to the club combine Gregg Berhalter started last year. You were selected in the later rounds of the SuperDraft, what’s that moment like when you get the phone call that you’d been selected by Columbus?
Adam Bedell: It’s kind of a long process, actually. After my college season ended, I just tried to stay fit and keep training. My college coach informed me that I got invited to the Crew Combine, the first ever. It was definitely an opportunity for me to show a top-level team what I can do. I showed really well there. That was in December, and I had to wait until January. The day of the SuperDraft, I got a call about 15 minutes before the Third Round started when I got taken. Gregg called me and said he was going to take me. It was a surreal moment for me and it’s something I’ll never forget.
ColumbusCrewSC.com: Columbus is the closest MLS city to your hometown near Detroit. What was it like coming into Columbus as a rookie — as a new guy — and integrating with the team during the first week or so of training camp?
AB: Obviously, my whole family was happy. Getting taken by the closest team to home, they could be close to me and come to my games. When I moved down to Columbus, everybody was very welcoming. It was an easy transition for me. Getting into the life of a pro is a difficult transition, but a lot of the veteran guys on the team like Michael Parkhurst and Steve Clark really helped me get acclimated and made me feel very welcome here.
ColumbusCrewSC.com: Off the field, what was it like getting acquainted with the city? How tough is it when you’re away at preseason for the better part of two months?
AB: Growing up in Detroit and being close to Columbus, I had actually never been to Columbus that I could recall. I had been to Ohio a lot for soccer, but I’d never really been to the city. To move here, it was a change, but I really grew to like the city. I enjoy living here. It’s a great place, and my teammates and I get along really well. I’m happy to be here.
ColumbusCrewSC.com: On the field, what would you say was the biggest challenge for yourself and rookies in general adjusting to MLS?
AB: I’d say the physicality and the pace of the game. It’s just a step above from the level in college, maybe two steps. In preseason, you get acclimated as best you can. I was lucky enough to get a lot of playing time during the season. The first few times you get on the field, it’s a learning process, getting used to the speed and physicality. I think I did a good job of that, and I’m looking forward to next season where I can hopefully apply some of what I learned.
ColumbusCrewSC.com: Take us back to the game at Red Bull Arena back in July. Unfortunately, Jairo Arrieta goes down with an injury, but you come on and score an outstanding goal — your first of your career. What was that moment like, hitting the back of the net?
AB: It was fun. You never like to see that happen to a teammate or an opponent, but when Jairo went down, my name was called and I was ready. I took my opportunity, and watching the ball go into the back of the net, there’s no feeling like it. It was a very special moment for me.
ColumbusCrewSC: From there, how did your confidence change? You then scored in a friendly versus Crystal Palace and later against Houston.
AB: For me as a forward, I’ve always kind of scored in streaks. To get one at Red Bull, then I scored against Palace, which was awesome, and then against Houston. When you get one, you hope for a couple more. That’s pretty much what you hope for as a striker.
ColumbusCrewSC.com: In a couple weeks, you’ll likely have a few new rookie teammates. What advice would you give rookies coming to Crew SC in 2015?
AB: I’ll definitely be there for me if they need me. I know how difficult it can be to come in as a rookie. If they need me, I’ll be there for them. I’d tell them to work as hard as they can. This is your opportunity, and you want to do everything you can to take that opportunity. That’s what I did, and that’s the advice I’d pass on.