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Oguchi Onyewu press conference

Gooch went through his first media scrum today. Here’s what he had to say.

Trey Madara / Brotherly Game

Questions will be in bold, not all of them were asked by us but here are the highlights from Oguchi Onyewu’s first presser as a member of the Union.

Been on trial a bunch of places, what about time with the Union made it the right decision: If I ever came back to play in MLS, I wanted to be on the East Coast. Limited options to DC, both NY clubs, Philadelphia and a couple more. Things almost formulated a couple years back for me joining NYCFC if it wasn’t for an injury. Philly has a strong team and I wanted to see if I can help them out.

In your mind how often do you want to play or how much can you contribute to the team?:
I don’t ever join a team not expecting to play. Would like to play every game, every minute I can. I’m here to help out and make an impact and help the squad however I can.

Friends with Charlie Davies, other guys on team you know well?:
I would say it was a good factor to be in a situation where you know and have played with a bunch of players. Obviously Charlie and I are close with Maurice Edu, have played with Ale and Mo and Brian Carroll. That was a good surprise coming in. This is a good experience for me and probably the best set up for the acclimation part I could have asked for.

How you can figure into the development of the youth on the squad but specifically Yaro and Trusty?:
It’s a young team, my role and I think my responsibility more than my role is helping develop those players. Whether that be by coaching them or playing with them so be it, but what I lack in age and youth I make up for in experience. You need the tenacity and the legs of the youth but you need those older guys who can calm things down.

What have you noticed from afar in terms of how MLS has developed as a league?:
“Hard to say, but if I had to base it on conversations from other players that have played in it from overseas, what it lacks in the technical side of things they make up for in athleticism. It’s quicker and sronger and you have these guys that can just go (play) forever. That’s my observation from the outside in.”

Were there times you could have played in your two year break?:
“Middle of 2015 I succumbed to an injury that took six months that recovered and instead of signing in January (of 2016) and play at 80% I took the time off to get to the level I want to be at in June or July. Looked at other scenarios and teams in MLS and that didn’t work out for one way or another. That just meant staying in shape and working out, which fortunately for me happened last week. Right now I don’t think anyone that’s watched me would say I’m not fit or able to play next to these guys next to me.”

Differences in your game now that you’re 34?:
“My size and strength have always been a big part of my game. I have a leadership role here now, which I will take in stride. That being said there’s guys in this league that are older than I am that go ignored, there’s guys on the (US Men’s) National Team that are older than me. I don’t think it’s so much that I’m 34 it’s that I have more experience. I don’t see these guys as younger than me, I see them as teammates.”