Joshua Yaro and Keegan Rosenberry are teammates once again, but this time, it’s their full-time job. The two former Hoyas made SuperDraft history in January by being the first pair of college teammates to be selected consecutively by the same team within the first 10 picks. Now, this historical duo has more than a full month of MLS experience under their belts, and is using their familiarity with each other to navigate through their new surroundings.
While playing soccer at a high level is something both Yaro and Rosenberry are no strangers to, adjusting to being a professional definitely has a learning curve. During this time of change, the pair has been able to turn to one another for guidance and support.
“Talking to each other after each practice gives us a chance to bounce ideas off of each other” Rosenberry said of Yaro - “That is something that some other guys don’t have.”
It’s not uncommon for teammate pairings to transition from the college level to the pros, but Yaro and Rosenberry’s dynamic is special because of where they play on the field.
“Him playing right back and me playing right center back, we have a relationship set up and we rely on each other on the field,” Yaro said. “I know where he’s going to be and what he is going to do in situations and knowing that, it helps me to make my next move -- and I think I can say the same for him. Knowing my position helps him play accordingly and that relationship is something that’s unique and an advantage a lot of other right backs and center backs don’t always have.”
Having Yaro and Rosenberry playing on the backline together can be beneficial not only for the two defenders, but for the Union as well. The nonverbal communication Yaro and Rosenberry display is a true testament to how well they know each other’s playing styles. During drills, the two seem to communicate effortlessly, a skill they attribute to their years at Georgetown together. Having two skilled defenders who have a history of working well together can (hopefully) only mean good things for the Union’s defense this year.
But off the field, they are having new experiences, like rooming together during the team’s spring training trips in Clearwater, Florida.
“This is the first time we actually roomed together and we’ve been getting to know each other even more so,” Rosenberry said. “Reporters do a good gob capturing what kind of player he is but you don’t get to see how good of a person he is off the field, and know the kind of things he likes, he’s just a good kid to be around.”
Creating a strong rapport between teammates takes time, especially as rookies, but Yaro and Rosenberry are a step ahead. After three years of playing together in college, the two defenders are making great strides into developing their roles with the Union. They have been able to use their existing relationship and understanding of one another to push each other towards greatness both on and off the field.
This is the fifth installment of the 2016 Philadelphia Union season preview. All month at PhiladelphiaUnion.com, we'll be breaking down what lies ahead with the season less than one month away. This week, we're looking at the Union's defense with a complete positional breakdown on Friday. What's on your mind for these two rookies in the 2016 season?