Jack McInerney scored three goals in 350 minutes in his rookie season with the Union.
More importantly, he gained some precious on-field experience.
Whether Manager Peter Nowak called McInerney’s name in the 50th minute or the 87th minute, he had to be ready.
That preparation helped him immensely.
“I would say, yes, it helped out a lot because you didn’t know when your name would be called, if at all,” McInerney said. “You had to prepare as if you were going to start. When you were called on as a substitute, you had to maximize the minutes you were given.”
McInerney did that and more last season.
The No. 7 overall pick – the third of three first-round selections – in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft made quite an impression along with top pick Danny Mwanga and No. 6 pick Amobi Okugo.
“I hope so,” said the soft-spoken and unassuming McInerney. “I worked hard every day and tried to do my job. Whatever they needed from me, I just tried to do.”
At a recent training session at the YSC Sports complex in Wayne, Pa., McInerney looked fit and ready for his sophomore season.
“It definitely helps so much getting that first year under your belt,” said McInerney, who scored his first professional goal on May 1, 2010, against the LA Galaxy. “I know a lot of the guys in here and everyone gets along. We’re all working hard and we’re all working towards the same goal. It does make it a little easier, but at the same time, you have to come back with the same work ethic and more to prove yourself all over again.”
McInerney traveled to Spain in the offseason where he played on tour with the MLS Generation adidas squad.
“I also went to the U-20 camp,” McInerney said. “I got some good experience in Spain. Those two things helped so much. I learned a lot. It’s always good to keep playing in a structured environment. I think coming back to Philadelphia now, I’m more seasoned, though I have a lot more work to do. We made many changes, so I’m getting to know the guys all over again.”
Nowak was intrigued by McInerney’s play as a rookie, and he’s even more excited about his young striker as the 2011 season approaches.
“Jack did a lot of very good things for us when he played,” Nowak said. “He was very smart with the ball. I talked to him and told him one of the hardest parts of maturing is watching how guys play without the ball, how the flow of the game goes and how to adjust accordingly. I think Jack will come back stronger and more experienced. I’m very anxious to see how he progresses.”
McInerney feels mentally and physically prepared to begin his second season. And he’s anxious to get on the field.
“Sure, every player wants to play,” McInerney said. “That’s why you’re here. I’m a team guy, too. I want to do well, and I feel like I can contribute a lot to this club.”
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