Rookie Season a Learning Experience for McInerney
Jack McInerney was prepared for anything when he showed up at last year’s MLS SuperDraft.
He had heard a number of rumors and scenarios. He had some time before the announcements commenced, so he took a walk and pondered his future.
When the Union selected McInerney with the No. 7 overall pick -- following Danny Mwanga at No. 1 and Amobi Okugo at No. 6 -- a feeling of euphoria set in for the then 17-year-old.
“I was kind of surprised the Union took me, but at the same time I was so happy,” said McInerney. “It was a good place for me to learn. I finished the season much more experienced than when I started. I learned so much from Peter Nowak and the whole staff. I just tried to be as patient as possible the whole season. I waited for my opportunities and I tried to maximize them.
“Overall, I was happy to come to Philadelphia. I hope to stay in Philadelphia for a long time as my career continues. We’re building something great here.”
A Generation adidas signee, McInerney decided to bypass college and enter the MLS SuperDraft directly from Cobb Futbol Club and the U-17 United States Men’s National Team.
It was a choice he never regretted.
“I wanted to play in MLS,” McInerney said. “I wanted to gauge my ability against the players in this league. As a teen, I felt very lucky to have this chance. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I never expected it to be easy. I made a good, solid choice. Going to Philadelphia worked out in every way possible for me.”
McInerney scored his first professional goal on May 1 at the LA Galaxy. He would go on to notch two more goals in league play for a total of three in just 350 minutes. He also added the lone goal in a 1-0 win against Chivas Guadalajara.
When the season concluded, McInerney didn’t measure his success by statistics.
“It’s funny because Peter always talked to me about improving in all facets of my game,” McInerney said. “He would tell me to create space between myself and the defender or how to see things that were developing on the field. It is the little things in this sport and this league that separates the great teams from the good teams. It separates the great players from the good players. I listened all the time and tried to take those techniques through practice and then into the games.”
Speaking of the games, McInerney reveled in playing in front of the passionate fans at PPL Park. It was an experience he will never forget, and one he hopes will be more commonplace in 2011.
“No matter what happened, they were behind us,” McInerney said. “We have the best fans in the league. They’re into it every time out. They know the sport. They’re knowledgeable. It was so cool to see that. It gave us a push when we needed it. I’m excited about the future here and the fans are going to be a huge, huge part of it. We can celebrate success together.”
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