Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Conor Casey settling in with Philadelphia Union

It's almost impossible to miss Conor Casey on a soccer field, even one as crowded as the Union's was on Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex.

Conor Casey settling in with Philadelphia Union

If he stays healthy, Conor Casey (left) will bring much-needed size and power to the Union´s attack. (AP file photo)
If he stays healthy, Conor Casey (left) will bring much-needed size and power to the Union's attack. (AP file photo)

It’s almost impossible to miss Conor Casey on a soccer field, even one as crowded as the Union's was on Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex.

The 6-foot-1 forward is an imposing presence just based on his size alone. Add to that a well-shaven dome on the top of that body and you get a prototypical target forward.

I spent a few minutes talking with Casey about how his time with the Union has gone so far.

What’s it been like being with the Union so far?

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Exciting, enthusiastic. It’s been some good, hard days, which is to be expected from preseason. Overall, there's a very good energy here, and a lot of excitement.

How’s your health?

Good. Ten days in on turf and I'm still able to train so far. That's a pretty good foundation that we're building. I'm definitely excited to get on grass, though.

How does this organization compare to others that you've been with in MLS?

It's been very professional. Having the president involved, there's a very big trickle-down effect. John [Hackworth] stepping up [as the full-time manager] is extremely organized, and everyone just seems really happy about the situation here in general.

The MLS season gets longer and longer every year. It's late January now but some people don’t realize how soon the season is starting. Does it feel like you’ve had a break?

It did, actually. We had a good two months off, not making the playoffs [with the Colorado Rapids last year]. So I feel well-rested and ready to go.

You've played mostly in a 4-4-2 formation in your career, and John Hackworth has preferred a 4-3-3 so far. It's not confirmed that the 4-3-3 will remain all year, but are you comfortable as the point of the forward line in that system? Is it an adjustment for you?

I've played both formations, so it's really irrelevant to me. I think it's more important how we go about actually performing on the field in those formations. So I don't think anything is set in stone, but it will be good to have some flexibility. We have a lot of options, so it’s positive for us.

This Union team has a lot of young players on it. Even though you are new to the organization, you are one of the older guys on the field. How much teaching are you doing out there?

Not so much right now. I'm just trying to integrate myself and get to know the guys on and off the field, and learn a whole new way about doing things. So for me right now, it's more about adjustment.

I'm sure that as we move forward, I'll be able to help with some of my experience. Some of the younger guys are definitely eager to learn, so it should be an exciting time.

Off the field, how has it been getting settled in Philadelphia?

So far, so good. My girlfriend and I will be moving into a place soon. It's an awesome city – I didn't realize how big it was.

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