Even when Jack McInerney realized his name wasn’t on the game day roster, he refused to get down.
That’s not his style.
Sure, he wanted to be on the pitch. Sure, he expected to be on the pitch.
But as McInerney soon discovered, things could change just like that in Major League Soccer.
“It was a crazy season,” McInerney said. “It was up and down, up and down. It ended up being an up season personally, but I wanted that to come with wins and getting to the playoffs. For me, I was able to get a chance to play and show what I could do. That was satisfying.
“When I wasn’t playing, it was frustrating and I had to stay professional. When you believe that you should be on the field, you just have to work through it. Thankfully, coach (John Hackworth) gave me a shot. I liked how much confidence he had in me. I wanted to prove his decision was a good one.”
Indeed it was.
McInerney wound up being the Union’s leading goal scorer with eight in just 18 starts. Think about what McInerney could have accomplished with a full season of playing time.
“That’s natural to do that because you wonder,” said McInerney, the Union’s No. 7 overall pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft. “You wonder what might have been. Then again, if coach Hackworth hadn’t put me in, it would have gone the other way. I’m thankful to him for showing faith in me and my ability. I’m a confident player on the field.
“When you’re not playing, you do wonder why this is happening. I think this whole experience has made me a much stronger player mentally.”
The 5-foot-10 McInerney was able to finish some set pieces with headers. Overall, the Union struggled off set pieces.
The biggest reason?
“I would say it’s size,” McInerney said. “I think it would be great if we can add a player who hold up the ball and I can run off him. We don’t have much size here on this club. We have Bakary (Soumare) but he’s recuperating from an injury. When we had corner kicks, we didn’t get many goals. I think more size in front of the goal will help so much.
“When we get size, I think some more speed would help as well. This organization cares about winning and I’m sure they’ll do all they can to improve the club. If we can add size and speed, coupled with what we have, I think we’ll be very much improved next season.”
For now, McInerney plans to take a quick mental break and then prepare for the 2013 season.
“I think with three MLS seasons under my belt, I have that experience to draw on,” McInerney said. “I’m a young player still and I’m anxious to improve and get better along with this club. We have so many young players with tons of talent. I think we will all be better off with this experience and we can all come back hungry and ready to go.”
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at firstname.lastname@example.org