Chandler Hoffman relishes every opportunity.
When the Philadelphia Union rookie forward learned he was starting last Sunday against the Chicago Fire, he was especially grateful.
Hoffman was only making his fourth appearance of the season. In fact, it was his first appearance since June 16 when he suffered a broken toe.
Since Jack McInerney was out with a red card suspension, it opened up a spot for Hoffman. However the chance came, Hoffman was thrilled.
“I’ve learned to be thankful for every chance to play, especially as a rookie,” Hoffman said. “We have a deep team with guys fighting for playing time. It was a tough thing for me sitting out injured and waiting for my turn. When I got healthy, I just came to work. To have my name called as a starter was a great feeling. I hope there are many more chances.”
Hoffman made his second career start and even believed that he scored a goal in the 3-1 loss. He wasn’t credited for a goal in the 34th minute, but he said that Freddy Adu’s cross deflected off his head and into the net. The play was ruled an own goal.
“I know it bounced off my head,” Hoffman said. “I was ready to celebrate. Goals are hard to get in this league. It didn’t deflect hard, just a bit off my head. We got credit for the goal and that’s the most important part.”
Hoffman played 69 minutes and impressed interim manager John Hackworth.
“Chandler is a guy that came in with some big shoes to fill in Jack Mac,” Hackworth said. “He did a good job. He is telling me he flicked that ball, so I’m giving him credit for the goal.”
Hoffman is unsure of what the immediate future holds in terms of playing time. He knows this much – his work ethic won’t change.
“In this league, you have to work every day,” Hoffman said. “There are no days off. We have so many guys in this locker room with talent. All you can do is come in and put in your work every day and see what happens. I was out for a while with an injury, so I’m hungry to play and show what I can do.
“I didn’t expect my rookie season to go exactly like this with the injury, but that’s part of being a professional. I have to fight every day to prove that I belong on the field. It’s great to know that coach Hack has confidence in me to make things happen.”
Next up is a match against rival D.C. United on Sunday afternoon. Hoffman is preparing as if he’ll play.
“I think that’s how you have to be,” Hoffman said. “You have to work and prepare and have confidence in yourself that if called on, you can get the job done. I felt like getting that last game under my belt will help me moving ahead.”