(In 2009, Jeremy Hall embarked on his rookie season in Major League Soccer and it was far from a dream ride. While he got to live out his dream as a professional, he also had to endure the trials and tribulations of a terrible season for the New York Red Bulls.
A year older and wise, Hall has begun his second season in strong fashion, starting as the Red Bulls' right back for a second season. He has experienced an eventful off-season and is now enjoying the benefits of his career, from playing in a brand new stadium to starring in his own commercials.
Hall will write a semi-regular diary for SBI where he will give us some insight into the experiences he has as a professional soccer player for the 2010 New York Red Bulls. Here is his first installment .)
By JEREMY HALL
Having gone through my first season in the MLS there were a lot of ups and downs. Last season was a difficult one for the club, but I think I have learned a lot from it and going to use it as I grow forward in my career. There have been many changes from last season with new coaches and players coming and leaving to help strengthen our team so we can bounce back from a forgettable season.
My first offseason was a busy one but at the same time productive. I was fortunate to go on a number of trips that included Austria, South Africa, and Haiti. A week after our last game, Nick Zimmerman, Luke Sassano, and myself went to Salzburg, Austria to train with the Red Bull team for a couple of weeks. It was a good experience to play in a European set up with the great young players they have.
The next trip that I attended was to South Africa with the Generation Adidas boys. I had an unbelievable time playing with some of the other up and coming stars of the league and getting to sight see in such a beautiful country. Not only did we play 3 games but, we were able to go on a safari, where we got to see all the animals out and about roaming around. We got to go to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. The Apartheid Museum, and also witness the World Cup draw. To see the country with such pride and happiness about hosting the World Cup was awesome to see!
And the last trip was to Haiti with my teammate Seth Stammler for his charity Sporting Chance Foundation. It was a humbling trip and so glad Seth invited me. To see what Seth has done for the kids and the community in Port-au-Prince was truly remarkable to witness!
After an eventful off-season, it was time to leave home (Florida) and come get back to work up to the nasty cold, rain, and snow of New Jersey. We started preseason camp well before all the other teams in the league and I think it has paid off. Heading to Spain and Florida for training, we have done well for ourselves in making winning a habit here. We went undefeated all preseason and its lead to a very confident team heading into the 2010 season in our first season not playing at Giant Stadium.
I would say Red Bull Arena is only a minor upgrade from Giant Stadium. Ha! No, but in all seriousness the stadium is amazing. Knowing that the fans and players have been wanting this stadium for years and being a part of the opening of the stadium is unbelievable. The opening match against Santos was a great way to open Red Bull Arena. Playing such a historic club with a number of great players was a good opponent for us. We won 3-1 with Joel, Petke, and Dane scoring great goals in front of a packed stadium of 25,000 screaming fans. I definitely had goose bumps and butterflies as we ran onto the field for the first time. It was a perfect tuneup for the first kick against the Chicago Fire.
The fans came out again in style for the league opener vs Chicago on a cold Saturday night. It was a special night as we were playing our first competitive match of the season that mattered. I know a lot of the guys had family come into town for the game as well as mine. My family isn’t able to travel for many games, so it was special to me to have them for opening night at RBA. Joel Lindpere scored a bomb first-half goal and we were able to play good team defense the rest of the match to hold on to a 1-0 scoreline.
This week we are now gearing up for a very good Seattle team with a bunch of good players. I feel like as a team, we are all feeling great about how we are playing and the results that we have gotten this year under our belts. We know Seattle is a tough place to play and we are looking forward to the opportunity. Seattle is where I made my debut last year so it’s a place I enjoy playing.
We are 1-0 on the year and are looking to build on our performance last week. If we play the way we have been all preseason, and good defensively like we did last week, we will be a tough team to beat.
Cant wait for Saturday!