Monday, May 21, 2012

Extra Time: Ruben Luna

About a week ago I got the chance to talk all things Ruben Luna with Ruben Luna. Naturally not everything fit the story, so the tastiest leftovers from "Home Grown: Ruben Luna" are all yours. I also included some bonus quotes from his U12-U16 coach, Darrin Hedges who now coaches FC Dallas's women's team.

On the importance of the reserve league in player development:
"The reserve league is great for, I think, all the young guys who are playing in that league. It gives you those games, something that we all really need and we all really want. You desire to play in games and if we’re not getting enough with the first team, playing the reserve league is definitely not just getting you games, but a confidence builder as well because if you’re ready to step up and coach asks for you, you’re, you got that confidence that you scored two goals, you scored a goal, you hit that pass, you played well and they’re just definitely special and important for us."

On the day-to-day  academy experience:
"The day-to-day academy experience here has changed since I was here. My day-to-day was going to school and training 3 times a week. Going after school, I would get early release and I would take a 45-minute drive to practice with traffic and everything, but you know what, those three times a week, it was well worth it because the training sessions were great and those years were the years we played lots of games and years that I had great coaching and great players around me to help me develop and evolve and, a lot of credit to all that."

On how he scored 38 goals in 27 games for FC Dallas's Under-16 academy team:
"It was a time when, when like it seemed to me, whenever I scored during that time when I was scoring goals is once you start scoring, you start getting the little ... Game after game, you start scoring and you start scoring then you, you know what I’m saying? Like you score, you score, you score, you get that confidence and the ball just bounces right for you. Sometimes you need just one or two goals to lift you up and keep you going ‘cause those take you far."

(Darrin Hedges) On Luna's adjustment to playing as a lone striker under Hyndman:
"I think he plays well with another forward up top. I mean that’s how we always played, with another front-runner up top he could combine with. And I think that's been part of the challenge for him, is playing that lone forward up top. You know when he tends to get the ball now in the pro league it’s one v three that he's having to go at, so I think that’s an adaptation that he’s having to make. And the huge think about it is that’s kind of the system that we preach throughout the program now from our academy all the way through ... So I wish we’d have started playing one forward up top, but that wasn’t the system that we knew we were going to play at that time."
On Luna off the field:
"In my opinion he’s the real deal. He really is, he’s got a good head on his shoulders, he was raised right, he takes care of his family, he takes care of the people that are close to him, he bought his parents a house. I mean, the kid, he’s doing it right and that’s what I like about him."

- Jacob Klinger

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