Earlier this week I got a chance to chat with one of the newest members of Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Andy Rose about a variety of topics from joining the club, Marc Dos Santos, the project in Vancouver, and a bit about what he does with his time away from the pitch.
Andy was kind enough to get on a phone call in the middle of match day six of the Champions League, so thanks again to him for carving out some time to connect.
Andy joins Vancouver while being touted as a versatile midfielder, and a welcome addition for squad depth. Able to play anywhere in midfield, the former Seattle Sounder will be expected to provide leadership and a high energy work ethic to the middle of the park when called upon.
He’ll be finishing 2018 with Scottish Premier League side Motherwell, before heading to Vancouver and on to Hawaii for preseason with the ‘Caps in the new year. Here’s what Andy had to say about his time playing in Europe, coming back to MLS, and linking up with a new club and a new challenge.
Thanks for carving out some time to chat today, first off welcome to Vancouver, welcome back to the West Coast. [Let’s] start with where you’re at right now, with Motherwell, since the start of the season it’s been a bit of a tough season so far, but you did have a really good result last week, picking up a point at home late against Celtic, how was that?
AR: Yeah, I’ve been with Motherwell for about 18 months now, when I came to the club at the beginning of last season it was… going in a new direction and was a really exciting project. We had some really good, talented young players and I really thought the manager was going to be taking the club in a great direction, and we had a great season. It was one of them seasons where Motherwell fans for a long time made it to two Cup Finals. The League Cup Final and then the Scottish Cup Final, finished seventh in the league which was pretty good, and had some great overall experiences and played some great games.
Then coming into this season we lost a couple key pieces, we lost a couple of very good players, and unfortunately it hasn’t really quite clicked. We’ve shown in spells that we’re a very good side, but haven’t really had that consistency. The last couple of games probably speak to why I think we’re very good, and you’re right, picked up a point against Celtic which was a great game, but we battled them really well and could have come out with more from the game, so hopefully things will continue to go in the right direction.
Good stuff, how relieved were you when Mark [Gillespie] saved that penalty, by the way?
AR: [Laughs] Yeah, very relieved, it was a great save and a great second save. He’s actually just come into the team, actually our starting goalkeeper has had to go off to Northern Ireland, he’s had a tough couple weeks with some medical issues, and Mark’s taken his shot and he’s been brilliant, so I’m really, really pleased for him.
You touched on it a little bit, you said when you joined Motherwell there had been a plan that Stephen Robinson had laid out for you, have you had anything to that effect in your conversations with Marc Dos Santos so far?
AR: Yeah, definitely, my conversation with Marc when things were really progressing was fantastic. We chatted for about half an hour, and everything he said really resonates with me certainly in terms of building this culture, and getting a real sort of tie in for the type of football that he wants to play and what he wants to build.
Those challenges just really excited me straight away… it felt like we were very much on the same page in terms of building the culture and taking the club in a new direction.
Obviously, I’ve been very familiar with the club for a long time, but everything he said, and the passion that he had, and the way he spoke I felt a real connection, and you know I couldn’t be more excited to add to that conversation and we’ll have even more to come for sure.
Coming back to MLS you’ve had 100+ games here, you won a US Open cup back in 2014, but you were obviously on the other side of the Cascadia Derby as far as your time in Seattle. Are you excited to come back to the west coast, what’s it going to be like on the other side for you?
AR: Yeah, definitely really excited to come back to the west coast. My Wife and I met when we were students at UCLA, so we’ve got family in LA, we’ve got family up in Seattle, so coming back to the west coast is an incredible opportunity and to be honest I was really looking for a new challenge, something a little different and like I said before, as soon as Vancouver kind of came into the equation, for me it was such a no brainer.
After my conversation with Marc, kind of understanding a little bit more about where the club is at now, where he sees the club going, the type of people he wants to bring to the club. First and foremost, that was the most important, and the type of challenge and that sort of project, and being part of building that was certainly the most exciting thing.
Knowing the City, knowing what a beautiful place it is, what a great place it would be for my young family. We had a son born over here in Scotland, he just turned one not that long ago, and to get back over to the west coast with him, and have him be raised in a place like that is just so exciting from a family standpoint as well.
You’ll definitely be closer to your wife’s family as well, and speaking on that did you get a chance to talk to Bob [Bradley] at all about Marc after he spent last season under him at LAFC?
AR: Yeah definitely, he’s certainly someone I wanted to ask questions to, obviously Bob knows Marc so well, so as soon as… Vancouver came into the equation, I had already heard so many great things about Marc from other people...Kenny Arena who’s on LAFC staff was also the coach at UCLA, so I had already heard an awful lot of good things about Marc.
I think when people speak so highly of you, before I had even spoke to him I already had a pretty good idea of the type of person he was just by the way that folks had spoken about him. So, without a doubt, in a way it made it even more exciting for me.
While I’ve been over in Europe, I’ve been fortunate enough to start my UEFA badges, certainly something I won’t hesitate with whenever I finish playing, and so to play for somebody like that so highly regarded, so highly respected, has won at different levels and is now beginning his journey in MLS, it’s just a fantastic opportunity and something that I couldn’t turn down.
You’ve seen a fair few big personalities and big name managers, between Sigi Schmid and even Tony Mowbray when you went to Coventry. How does Marc compare to those guys, is he kind of unique in his own style, is he maybe a little more intense than others? What’s he like on that side of things?
AR: Yeah, without a doubt I’ll be able to give you a much better answer after a few months of working with him. What I’ve loved the most about our conversation was the type of football he wants to play, and you get used to identity, and that’s something that has always really resonated with me, dictating play, I constantly strive to provide my team with energy and enthusiasm. I always love playing the game at a high tempo, and that’s something that I’ve learned over here.
The game in Scotland especially is so fast paced, and… action packed. I couldn’t be more excited to go and learn his philosophy, his style. One of the things I wanted to do when I left Seattle was to come and see something different, and learn a new philosophy and learn a new style of play. I’ve been fortunate enough to do that at both stops, and I’m really excited to take what I’ve learned and continue to push myself, and prove myself all over again in MLS.
On that note, how do you find league, the level compares between League One, the Scottish Premier League and MLS? Is it maybe a bit quicker in Europe, or what’s your thought on the difference in the competition?
AR: I get asked that questions quite a lot, I’ve been out of MLS for three years now. I’m sure little things have changed from my time there, it’s an interesting dynamic when you have 2 or 3 designated players per team whoa re maybe Premier League status players, and sort of that different tiers of players within each squad. And then basically an effective sort of Championship calibre players, League One calibre players, League Two calibre players, all throughout the 25, 26 man roster.
I’ve found the Scottish Premier League really competitive, I think it’s, like I said before, an action packed league, there’s really exciting young players, some incredible environments, I mean, playing at Ibrox, playing at Celtic Park, playing in the cup final, I mean I could do this all day.
Fantastic challenges, fantastic to cherish this, playing becomes very tactical because they have such incredible players on display. It often becomes a game where you have to be so good out of possession, which is something I’ve learned playing against those sorts of teams.
A lot of these players that I’m playing against could easily go and do very well in MLS and vice versa. I think a lot of players I played with and against throughout my 4 years in MLS would come and do very well in Europe, so, I think every league is incredibly competitive, all have different challenges, from weather, to the surface, to travel.
What I would probably say is, MLS has those real top, top, high quality players in each team… A lot of my teammates at the moment here would certainly be of interest to MLS teams, especially some of the young international players coming through. But at the same time, I’ve found all three leagues I’ve played in to be very challenging.