Ladies and gentlemen, please say hello to the newest member
of the Black-and-Red, Mr. Danny Allsopp. The Aussie forward was nice enough to take a few minutes out of his morning to chat with us about his excitement in coming to DC, playing in England, the similarities between MLS and Australia's A-League and the importance of tradition in football.
Q: So Danny, where are you now?
Allsopp: I’m back in Melbourne at the moment sorting out my affairs and anxiously waiting to get over to DC, just in time for the start of preseason. I’m definitely ready to go.
Q: What do you know about MLS and D.C. United?
Allsopp: I still have a lot to learn, but MLS is on ESPN over here, and Fred came from my old team [Melbourne Victory] and I have kept an eye on him. Obviously with Beckham going over to play that drew a lot of attention to the league, so I am familiar with it from that standpoint. I know that D.C. United is a well-known club, and I am very excited to play for the team and to be the first Australian player in MLS [ed. note: there have been a handful of players who have been on MLS rosters, but no Australians have played in an official League match… yet].
Q: You have played football across the globe, how do you think your diverse experience will help you on American soil?
Allsopp: I think in the early part of my career I played all of my matches looking to gain as much experience as possible, but as I went on I tried to improve many aspects of my game and I think I have built a strong foundation to take over to MLS. I think at this point in my career I am reaching my full ability, and the best is yet to come over there in the States.
Q: Favorite soccer memory?
Allsopp: At the moment, I think winning the League title here in Australia twice tops the list. It was satisfying to be a part of those teams, especially the year we had [former United midfielder] Fred. We had a really good team that went all the way convincingly, so that was definitely a highlight of my career. Winning the Grand Final [in the Hyundai A-League] is right up there with playing for my country.
Q: Ever been to DC?
Allsopp: No, I have not. I had a holiday where I went to New York for a few days once, but that’s pretty much the extent of my travel in America. This is such an exciting opportunity for me and my family to come to the States, and I am really going to try and make the most of my experience there. I want to do my best on the pitch and also experience life in D.C. off of it – we’re really looking forward to it. Everyone I have spoken to has said how much we are going to love Washington, so we really can’t wait to get over there.
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Q: The Hyundai A-League is a young domestic league that is really beginning to take off in your homeland. Do you see any parallels between the A-League and MLS?
Allsopp: I think there are a lot of similarities between the two leagues. Football is really taking off here in Australia being one the sports that is growing in terms of fan support, so I think that is one way it is similar to MLS. D.C. United is a club that has great support, and you can see the fans really turn out in numbers, which is similar to the team here in Melbourne. Both leagues are really trying to grow at the moment and I think the kids are taking to it as well, so I think that is another similarity between the two countries.
Q: You have played for some historical English clubs (Manchester City, Hull City, and Notts County). United supporters are also passionate about the history and the tradition associated with their club. What is it like playing for storied teams with great pride in their history?
Allsopp: At the time [with Manchester City, Hull, etc.] I was playing week to week and I was trying to establish myself in the team, but I learned you always have to respect the traditions of the club you are with and I have been really lucky to play for so many great clubs. I have been blessed really to be where I am now, and I have enjoyed the journey.
Q: What do you make of the Socceroos’ World Cup chances in South Africa?
Allsopp: They have a very tough group, but I think it all depends on how they perform. During the last World Cup they [Australia] did a really good job, but I think people tend to get carried away with their expectations here in Australia, and I think they will have to do really well to get past the group stage and take it from there.
Q: Most importantly, will they do better than the Kiwis?
Allsopp: Yeah, I have to say they [Australia] will do better. New Zealand has done really well to make the World Cup Finals, we’re obviously pretty close with them and I hope they do well – but in a head-to-head I like our chances.
Q: Any words for the fans in DC?
Allsopp: I’m just hoping that I can come over and earn the respect of the fans and do a good job for D.C. United. Over time I think they will see what I offer to the team and I am going to try and play my best for them.