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  • Kianz Froese reflects on "dreamy" first month in MLS and what lies ahead


    "Yeah, everything that's been happening just feels dreamy," Froese said at training on Monday. "Honestly, the night after the game, and right after the game, I just kept replaying it. The crowd, the people, the support. It's just unbelievable.

    "I wasn't sure I was going to [play] when I went. I just went on the field and tried to enjoy every moment of it, watching everybody and everything. It was great."

    A whirlwind for sure, but how much of those 45 minutes on the pitch (52 I guess with all the stoppage time!) did Kianz get to enjoy and savour, or did it all just fly by?

    "No, it flew by, like a lot of the stuff that happened in it. I remember some of it and some I don't. It's tough. It feels blurry now. I don't remember much."

    He might not recall much of the action, but all he needs to know is that he didn't look one inch out of place out there. He was involved, he showed some nice footwork out wide and caused Seattle's defence some problems. Carl Robinson described him after the game as having "no fear" and Froese wasn't afraid to put himself about a bit, with a couple of crunching tackles soon settling him down, including a nice one that sent Jalil Anibaba flying through the air.

    "I felt comfortable," Froese admitted. "I'm happy that Robbo believed in me to put me in, in such a big game that we needed to win. The guys were great. They talked to me and they were on me all the time, 'hey come, tuck here, tuck there' so I had extra help to go for it."

    Another aspect that helped was that this wasn't Froese's pro debut as such. The 18-year-old played 77 minutes for the Caps in their 2-1 loss in Toronto in their Canadian Championship semi-final first leg match-up. That experience, along with playing for Canada at last year's U17 World Cup in the UAE, certainly gave Froese a good grounding and appetite for more.

    "It gave me a taste of where I wanted to be," Froese told us. "Now that I see it, I know where I want to be playing week in, week out. But I need to continue to work hard on tons of stuff so that I can progress into playing more often."

    There's been talk that the Caps might send Froese, Marco Bustos and some of their other young talent over to Europe at the start of the offseason to have training stints at some top clubs and get more experience. Bryce Alderson spent time at QPR last year and it's believed that the Whitecaps have a number of options available to them.

    For now though, Froese still has some Residency matches coming up. The U18s have six remaining matches in the USSDA this year and Kianz will have an important part to play. The Whitecaps will also want to see how he reacts with going back to the Residency environment after first team action. It's all part of the development plan and seeing the right attitude is very important to them.

    It's certainly not something they have to worry about with Froese, who knows the benefit of still growing within his own age group as well as against pros. It also gives him the chance to share his experience with the rest of the Residency squad, all of whom will be eager to follow in his and Bustos' footsteps, and have already been in touch.

    "I've spoken to my teammates and a lot of the guys. A lot of conversations," Froese said. "It's going to be the same [going back to Residency]. Obviously that's where it all started and that's where you go to continue to get game fit and game sharpness."

    The Residency games also give Froese the chance to develop different aspects of his game and the U18s have seen him play as an out and out striker, a 'false nine', on the wing and as both an attacking and defensive midfielder. For Kianz, the more experience he can get in different positions, the better a player it will make him.

    "I think it helps me understand the game better because you have to understand everyone else's roles too," Froese told us. "It gives me more positions that I can play in too. I think it's helped me. Everything the Residency has done has just helped me in general."

    Which of course bodes well for all the other players coming through from the Residency in the next couple of years. It's certainly exciting times in Whitecapsland.



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