Men's Soccer
Andy Gruenebaum Chat

How does a professional soccer player spend most of the offseason?
Honestly, for me a lot of time off did the trick! You spend the entire year training and playing games and it takes a toll out of you for a good 8 months of the year, so taking your mind off of things for a month really helps. After that, when its time to go again, you have to be mentally ready for the next 8 months.

You recently traveled to England to train with Blackburn. What was the best part of that experience?
The best part of training with Blackburn Rovers was experiencing the professionalism of a different professional league in which there might be better players and more experienced coaches. It's interesting to hear different points of view on my technique and ability from the coaches and players over there. They are very knowledgeable and I learned a lot from them!

Do you have aspirations to one day play overseas, or would you prefer to stay in the U.S. and compete in the MLS?
Personally, it would be hard for me to leave the US because I have so much invested here as far as family and friends, as well as lifestyle. However, it would be hard to say no to an offer from one of the best leagues in the world! I think I would make the best out of either situation, and right now I have a great situation with the Columbus Crew!

Former U.S. World Cup Goalkeeper Brad Freidel plays for Blackburn. What was it like to be able to train with him?
Brad Friedel, at age 36, does things that are unimaginable to me! He makes everything look so easy! Of course, it doesn't hurt that he has a ridiculous wingspan and is naturally a big goalkeeper, but his technique is flawless. I learned a lot from him in just a few days of stepping onto the same field!

You've been known for your prowess in penalty kick situations. Think you could beat Friedel in a shootout?
As I said before Friedel is 36, however, I have learned to respect my elders so no, I couldn't beat Friedel in a shootout. However, we had a preseason game this morning (Sunday) against DC United and I saved a penalty in that one as well as one in practice the night before!

Looking ahead to next season, what are your individual goals with the Columbus Crew?
My individual goals start with simply staying healthy! It was hard to sit out for 3/4ths of the season and then struggle to adapt to the speed of the pro game when I finally was healthy! I learned a lot though including the fact that I can play at this level and I still have the desire to do so!

Of course I want to be the starter for the Crew in the upcoming season, but honestly, I just want to see the team do well this year! I guess I would like to see the team do well with me making contributions on the field this year!

What's the best part about playing in the MLS and for the Crew?
The best part of playing in the MLS is the lifestyle of the profession! For instance, this morning we played DC United in our first preseason game. After playing in a game you love more than anything, we have the rest of the day to ourselves. You cannot beat that! The best part of playing for the Columbus Crew is the fans that support us as well as my teammates! You couldn't pick a more loyal fan base, and that helps because things have not gone our way the past couple years, but Columbus is such a family oriented city! Also, my teammates our amazing. We have such a diverse group, but everyone gets along!

What do you miss most about UK soccer?
I miss the atmosphere at Kentucky! Its like nothing else! I wish that people around the nation felt the pride I have for the school, my teammates there, and Ian Collins, as well as the other coaches! I will never forget the atmosphere on game days as you walk in the locker room, go out to warm up to Coach Chaney’s techno music, and then play in front of the best fans in the nation! I'm not just saying this either ... I wouldn't trade my experience at Kentucky for 5 national championships somewhere else! If I was going to win a national championship it was going to be for Kentucky and nowhere else!



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