Preseason 2014 - Indoors - Birnbaum

Two California natives experience their first D.C. winter

Most people wouldn’t be too thrilled about moving from sunny California straight into a frigid Washington, D.C. winter. However, Steven Birnbaum, D.C. United’s No. 1 MLS SuperDraft pick, and Sean Franklin, DCU’s first selection in the Re-Entry Draft had to do just that. The pair, who couldn’t help but smile when reminiscing about Cali, shared what it’s been like to begin training with a new club, and how they’ve started to adapt to the winter weather.

How has the house hunt been going? Found a place to live yet?
Steven Birnbaum: Yeah, I’ve been looking around mostly in the Arlington area where most of the other guys live. I would really like to live around that area because there’s a lot to do, and it seems like a pretty interesting area to live. It’s also a short distance from the stadium.
Sean Franklin: I’ve been searching around in the D.C. metro area. I just want to live near the stadium and close to teammates. It’s been kind of hard looking around since we’ve been doing a lot of training, and we’re leaving for preseason in Florida soon.

What has the transition been like from California to D.C.?
SB: It hasn’t been too bad yet, but the weather has been pretty cold here. It definitely is different here, but I’ve been getting used to it. I’m glad that we’ve been training indoors. We head down to Florida for preseason soon, and it’ll hopefully be a little bit warmer there. We’ll be able to train outside!
SF: It’s been a big change, not just the weather, but also just being on the opposite side of the U.S. from all your friends and family. Not knowing what to expect out here has me on my toes, but it’s been a good transition thus far. I think it’ll only get better during preseason.

Do you think the cold weather has an impact on performance?
SB: I’m not really trying to think about that too much, but there really shouldn’t be too big of a difference. I know we’ll do a lot of indoor training if it’s too cold here, but as a soccer player you prepare yourself for all kinds of conditions.
SF: It’ll be different at first, but once the season gets going, it’ll only get warmer. I’m thankful that we train indoors right now. I really don’t want to be outside training in below zero temperatures.

What are some of your goals for preseason?
SB: I would like to show the coaches my best and hopefully contribute from the beginning. I want to do everything to help the team as a whole do well. I also want to keep getting better, so that when I do get the nod from Coach, I’ll be ready.
SF: I’m looking forward to getting to know all my teammates and gelling with them. That’s a big part of preseason. I’m excited to get out of the cold weather and play outside on grass. After preseason, I’m just hoping that we all mesh together and come back to D.C. ready to play as a unit.

What has been the most interesting part of moving from college soccer to the pros?
SB: Everything is just much more professional. You get your own locker where everything is set up for you and you are provided meals before and after training. It’s also been fun training with a lot of really talented players. The game moves a lot faster, so I have to think a lot more quickly.