Born: Dallas, United States
Previous club: FC Dallas
A lot of clubs, both in England and in Europe, wanted to sign me - but it was Fulham that stood for me. I had quite a few trials, and got a feel for how a lot of different clubs worked. For me, Fulham had everything that I wanted. There’s a great focus on bringing young players through and the chance is there for them - I wanted to be part of that. I also spent time at Liverpool, Everton and Newcastle United, plus a period in Portugal with Sporting Lisbon and in Spain with Real Mallorca and Villarreal. But Fulham was the club for me and, so far, it’s proved the right decision.
The Academy has enjoyed a lot of success over the past two or three seasons and now I want to play my part in another positive campaign. This is one of the best academies in England, and the results in that period support that. Last season, I watched the Under-18s defeat Blackburn Rovers to be crowned national champions. It was an amazing performance and, at the time, I thought that feat would be difficult to replicate. At present, though, we’re doing very well and hopefully it will be another season to remember. I’ve been involved in a lot of games, scored a few goals and made some assists. I just want to play my part.
I like to think that I’ve been doing well for the Under-18s, and as a result I have been given a couple of opportunities to train with the First Team. It was such an incredible experience to be working with the Manager Martin Jol and the senior squad of players. I didn’t think that would happen so quickly, but it has, and I’m very thankful for that. But, that said, I know I have a long way to go before I’m playing alongside them on a permanent basis.
For those that haven’t seen me play yet, I would say that I’m a player that likes to make things happen. I try to be creative out on the field, and want to dictate and get the tempo going. I’m quite good at passing too, whether that’s short or long. My coaches tell me that I have good vision, which is nice to hear. I play in the centre of midfield, and although I’m not the biggest, I believe that I hold my own. Plus I have Solomon Sambou in there too - he looks after me!
The player that I most look up to as an example of how the game should be played is Andrés Iniesta of Barcelona. I like the players that set their respective teams’ rhythm and that’s what he does, for Spain as well. He makes the game look very simple, and is always really positive in possession. He’s hardly ever in the press, but when he is, it’s for the right reasons.
Fulham have a big following in the States, that’s something I’m very aware of. Of course, football is massive in America and almost everyone has their own favourite English team because they watch a lot of the Barclays Premier League. Some Americans have a big connection to Fulham, and that’s nice. People know about the club that I play for, and it’s an honour to be playing for them.
Football isn’t the most popular sport back home, but it was always the one for me. It’s in my family. My Grandfather was hooked from a very young age, and my Dad followed. My Grandfather played, as did my Dad, and I think that drive was passed on to me. I played a bit of baseball and a little basketball with friends, but it was football that took my interest. From a very young age, I just loved kicking a ball.
In fact, my Grandfather Schellas Hyndman is one of America’s most respected coaches. As a family, we’re very proud of what he has achieved in the game. He was a very successful college coach and then in 2008 he was made head coach at FC Dallas. In 2010 they got to the MLS Cup Final, which was massive – unfortunately they lost to Colorado Rapids, though. We speak a lot and we have a great relationship - he’s probably my biggest fan.