Feb. 01, 2017
MLS Aces Interview with Colorado Rapid's Dominique Badji
Today I bring you an interview with a player who made it to this year's MLS Western Conference Finals. Today`s interview is with Colorado Rapids forward Dominique Badji. Badji is one of my favorite young and exciting strikers in the league. I want to thank Mr. Badji for answering my questions and for allowing my readers to see a little more into his career. Here is the interview with Mr. Badji:
MLS ACES: You were born in Senegal, when did you come over to the United States? Do you think that your time in Africa had any impact on your growth as a soccer player?
BADJI: I came over to the United States when I was 16 years old. I attended a boarding school in Alexandria, Virginia called Episcopal High School for 2 year, before attending Boston University. Yes, my time in Africa definitely had an impact on my growth as a soccer player. I had to learn to be tough mentally and physically from a young age, and that has replicated itself in my game today.
MLS ACES: In 2015 you were drafted by the Colorado Rapids. You were brought onto a team with plenty of talented players such as Clint Irwin, Drew Moor, and Kevin Doyle. Out of all of the players on the roster in your first season who would you say was most helpful in developing as a rookie?
BADJI: Honestly, everybody on the 2015 squad played a hand in helping me get used to the MLS. James Riley was a mentor to me both on and off the field and for that I will forever be thankful.
MLS ACES: You were drafted in the last round of the 2015 Superdraft, how did you go from being pocked in the last round to now starting for a Colorado Rapids team that is playing in the conference finals?
BADJI: I put myself in a great situation to have the success that I am currently having because I never took anything for granted. I worked hard for everything that I’ve got. I’ve been overlooked since my high school days, so it was no surprise to me when I got drafted in the last round. I used it as motivation to fuel the fire I have inside of me to be the best player I can.
MLS ACES: This season the Colorado Rapids made some big name moves by acquiring Tim Howard, Sebastien Le Toux, Marco Pappa, Jermaine Jones, and Mekeil Williams. Have any of the new additions to the club made a huge impact on you personally or on the team as a whole?
BADJI: Every player in our locker room brings something unique. The variety of personalities we have in the locker room has helped us accomplish the great season we've had. Although off the field our personalities are different, once we step on the field, we all come together, with one goal in mind, to win.
MLS ACES: In your rookie season you finished with 15 appearances and 2 goals. You finished this 2016 campaign with 27 appearances, 6 goals, and 4 assists. What would you say helped in your growth as a prominent striker in the league?
BADJI: My growth as a striker in the league has come from growth in my confidence through repetition, and working with John Spencer. I had a good offseason after my rookie season, worked hard, and came back to preseason this year wanting to show people that I've got so much more to offer. Also, John Spencer, having played in the same position as me, worked with me every day and shared his knowledge of the position. He pushed me every day to hold myself to a higher standard and instilled an attacking mentality in my game.
MLS ACES: I personally love watching you player soccer. You have great combination of pace and strength that allows you to beat defenders and be a starter in this league. Overall, how would you describe your game and what do you think it is that makes you such a good player?
BADJI: My speed is definitely an attribute I have that sets me apart from others in the league. Also my ability to grasp concepts fast and willingness to learn has really contributed to my success. I am humble, down to earth and am not afraid to ask for help when needed.
MLS ACES: Pablo Mastroeni was a great MLS player in his time. Now being under him for two seasons how has he brought out the best in you?
BADJI: Pablo has helped me develop into a player who can be effective in this league. I look forward to working with him and the rest of the coaching staff and strength and conditioning staff to become dominant in the league.
MLS ACES: Last season the Rapids finished last in the western conference and close to the bottom of the league as a whole. How did it feel in that locker room last season and was anything said or done to make sure that things would change this season?
BADJI: Last season left a sour taste in all of our mouths. We all promised to hit the offseason hard in order to never experience that low again.
MLS ACES: Many of writers and podcast hosts did have the Rapids having a successful season before this year started. Many of them had you guys again finishing last or close to last. We were DEAD wrong! You guys came out firing and finished second in the west and second in the Supporter Shield race. How would rate this season for you?
BADJI: It's been a great season. We've accomplished many of the goals we set for ourselves in preseason and we will continue to do the little things that have gotten us this far.
MLS ACES: This was your first experience in the playoffs how has it been so far? You experienced a very close series with the Galaxy losing 1-0 in LA but then winning a shutout thanks to Tim Howard. How were your emotions throughout that series?
BADJI: Playoff games are amazing. Not everyone gets to experience them. Although emotions are running high and adrenaline is pumping, we remained the same and stuck to what got us this far.
I want to thank Dominique for answering some of the questions that I asked him following his series with the LA Galaxy. He was a great person to work with and as I said in the interview one of my favorite strikers to watch in MLS. I only see his play improving next season! I hope you all enjoyed my second interview with an MLS player.