March 20, 2009
By Matt Swiss
Staff Writer - www.gorhody.com
For some, success happens overnight. For others, it is the result of a tremendous work ethic, determination, patience, perseverance and commitment. For men's soccer alum Geoff Cameron, it has been somewhat of a combination of the two.
Following a two-year stint as a member of the men's soccer team at West Virginia University, Cameron transferred to Rhode Island to spend his junior and senior years as a Ram. He helped lead URI to the NCAA Tournament in 2006, and as a senior in 2007, he was named Midfielder of the Year in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
"It came down to playing with a bunch of the guys during the PDL season," Cameron said. "We were all playing together with the Rhode Island Stingrays, I had a really good time with them and we clicked really well. They kind of sold me on coming to URI, there was a scholarship available there for me and I thought it was a perfect opportunity for me so I took full advantage of it."
After a successful college career, Cameron went on to play professionally, drafted 42nd overall by Major League Soccer's Houston Dynamo. This past season, he was named runner-up for the MLS Rookie of the Year award, after earning playing time at seven different positions in 35 of his team's 48 games.
Despite finding success on both levels thus far, Cameron mentioned some key differences between the pro game and the college game.
"I think it's got to be the quickness," he said. "Mentally, you have to be quicker and you have to be faster. You have to know where to put the ball before you get it. Some players are college players and some players are professional players."
Cameron, who was named the Dynamo's Newcomer of the Year in 2008, recorded one goal and five assists in his rookie campaign. His lone goal came on April 6th against inter-state rival FC Dallas, earning him the Sierra Mist Goal of the Week award as well as being among five finalists for the MLS Goal of the Year award.
Cameron then became one of 25 players to be invited to train for the U.S. National Team.
"I was in complete awe," Cameron said. "I remember sitting down with Coach [John] O'Connor in his office with my father, and I said my goals were to be drafted by the MLS within a year, within two years I want to earn a starting spot and within three years I want to make the national team. It happened so quickly and I was in complete shock."
Unfortunately for Cameron, however, a pulled hamstring on just the fourth day of training camp sidelined the Attleboro, Mass. native, and disabled him from playing for the team.
"It was really unfortunate that I tore my hamstring," he said. "It was just a big blow to me mentally, but now I just have to take care of my body, and be ready for it if there's ever another chance to be called up."
He appears to be toward the end of his road to recovery, however, and despite being a part of a veteran squad, Cameron hopes to be a go-to-guy for the Houston Dynamo in what will seemingly be a busy 2009 season.
"I was getting treatment every day, twice a day, so by the time I got back, I wasn't that out of shape. I slowly worked myself back into a full practice at 100 percent and my goal this year is to get as much playing time as possible. Obviously I want to earn a starting position, like anybody, but I understand that there are guys in front of me that are very good and that have experience, being in the league for seven or eight years."
To the Rhody faithful, Cameron will always be known as an all-star midfielder. However, after spending time at seven different positions during his first year with the Dynamo, he is now left wondering what his true position is, and consequently, what exactly he can bring to the table to help his team win.
"If I get an opportunity, I want to take full advantage of it," Cameron said. "I want to produce and play better than the guy that was there before me. We want to win the MLS Cup. That's the number one goal and we're going to do whatever it takes to get there."
Cameron, along with the rest of his teammates, will take the first step towards reaching that goal tomorrow night (March 21) when the Dynamo open their 2009 season in Houston against the defending MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew.