Three's a charm for Michael Farfan

Going into third MLS season, Michael Farfan expects big things

Michael Farfan had a terrific rookie season with the Philadelphia Union.

His sophomore season was even better.

It can be argued that Farfan was the most valuable player on the club. One year after finishing third in Major League Soccer for Rookie of the Year, Farfan established himself as one of the cornerstone players on the Union.

How about MVP?

“It’s nice that you mention that, but I’m really just out there doing my job and doing everything I can to help the Union win,” Farfan said following the season finale against the New York Red Bulls. “I’m a team player – whatever the team needs me to do. It’s nice you bring this up, but I’m really just out there competing as hard as I can for the Union.”

Farfan had one goal and five assists while playing a physical brand of football. His passion and intensity is evident every time he steps on the pitch.

“I think it’s contagious, yes, when you have guys playing hard,” said midfielder Brian Carroll. “I play the same way, and I think we have a team of guys like this. In the midfield, Michael is a tough player and he’s not afraid to mix it up if the game gets physical.”

While the Union didn’t fare as well as they hoped with a 10-win season, Farfan’s overall game was noticed on the national stage.

He was a late addition to the MLS All-Stars in the All-Star Game at PPL Park. Getting the chance to train with the likes of Landon Donovan, Chris Wondolowski and Thierry Henry was extremely beneficial. And special.

“I’ll never forget it,” said Farfan. “It was also great to play alongside my teammate Carlos Valdes. That was cool. Being in the All-Star at home at PPL Park was a memory I’ll never forget. I wish we could have won more games and made the playoffs, but the overall experience of the All-Star Game was a great memory.”

Farfan trained with Sunderland last year and he is going to train with SC Freiburg of the German Bundesliga this time around.

That type of international experience is huge, especially for a young player such as Farfan.

When he returns for his third season, he’ll be even more polished.

“I think I have to keep working extremely hard in the offseason,” Farfan said. “I’ll take a little rest, but then I’ll get right back to work. I’m still a young player and I want to keep improving and getting better. I’m looking forward to next season and helping to turn things around.”

Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at andy.jasner@yahoo.com