RJ DEMELLO - Monday, April 29, 2013
Seven games into his rookie season and Andrew Farrell has started and gone 90 minutes in every last one of them at right back for the New England Revolution.
So far aside from their loss to the New York Red Bulls, the Revolution defense has been rock solid. With Farrell spending every game on the field and some great defensive displays, it's hard to believe that he is actually playing out of position.
"It's kind of a new position for me," Farrell told Full Volley. In his traditional humble attitude he continued, "I'm just trying to do (what) I can."
Before being taken with the first pick of the MLS Super Draft, Farrell was a star at the University of Louisville. In his time with the Cardinals he spent his time playing in the center of either the midfield or defense.
New England came into the year returning their starting center backs from last season, A.J. Soares and Stephen McCarthy, as well as adding Jose Goncalves on loan from FC Sion. This caused the Revolution to take a look at using Farrell on the outside of the defense.
The college All-American thinks that the transition is going well so far, but there is still plenty of room to improve. The first observation he had of his new position shows the attitude that only increased his stock leading up to the draft. With his trademark grin he noted, "It's a lot more running on the outside."
He continued, "You've got to be precise with your passes because you always have the sideline out there."
Getting used to extra running and the threat of the sideline being so close will certainly come as he continues to log minutes on the right of the teams defense. However, the imposing defender is also learning a lot from the examples set by the other members of the team.
"I watched Kevin (Alston) a lot during the first four games, and I've watched Chris Tierney, all our outside backs, and tried to learn from them."
Both Alston and Tierney are good professionals that Farrell can learn a lot from. The 24 year old Alston is a former US youth international who has been a constant presence for the Revolution since he came into the league in 2009. To date he has made 116 appearances for the club and will certainly add more to that total when he returns from treatment for Leukemia.
Tierney has made 107 appearances for the club since 2008, spending much of that time at left back. Following their lead Farrell hopes to add another dimension to his game.
"I'm trying to focus more on defense because that's my role but as I get more games under my belt I think I'm trying to get a little more forward and create a little bit more on the offensive side."
The added offense will only be welcomed by Head Coach Jay Heaps, as New England looks to build on their most recent performance, a 2-0 win over Jack McInerney and the Philadelphia Union.
Farrell will hope to be in the lineup Thursday night against the Portland Timbers after leaving the game this past weekend in stoppage time due to a foul by Michael Farfan. With the success so far, he remains humble in his place on the team and as he simply puts it, "I'm just trying to learn."