Editor’s Note: Atlanta United rookie midfielder Anderson Asiedu spoke to media yesterday, and rather than try to weave the questions into a flowing narrative, we decided it’d be most informative for our readers to deliver you the words of Anderson Asiedu in the raw. These quotes have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Q: What’s it been like these first few days?
Asiedu: It’s been great so far. I love the city already. The environment has been great, I can’t really complain. The weather has been a little bit on and off, but besides that, the environment here has been absolutely great. I can’t complain at all.
Q: What’s your opinion on this training facility?
Asiedu: When I first walked in, I was shocked. College is way different. Here, you have people who cook for you... I’m like ‘this is living life!’ This is a dream come true. I enjoy it. Great people. You walk in and say hi and everyone says hi to you and giving you love. You can’t expect better than this. The people who work here give us food, wash our clothes... it’s beautiful. It’s a great, great, great, great, great place.
On training under Frank de Boer:
Asiedu: It’s been great. Coach Frank saw something in me and gave me the opportunity to be here, so I know what he’s capable of as a coach and he will get the best out of us. Every day we compete out there, he tells us what we need to do, he tells us what can make us better, things that we can improve on to be a better team — a great team. He knows what he’s doing. He’s telling us the principles of football and we’re humbly taking that to do the best we can.
On the increased intensity at the professional level:
Asiedu: Oh yeah, the competition level is way, way, way, way, way better than in college. Everybody wants a bite of you. Nobody is giving you space to do what you want to do. And the more you work with better people, the better you become. It’s been great, but the intensity level, the knowledge level... everybody here is a mature footballer. For me, I’m just keeping up with it. I’m a tough man. I’m keeping up. There’s been a couple of bullies [editor’s note: Asiedu clarifies he is referring to rough, physical challenges on the pitch], but I’m still here. After training, it’s all love. Love me some good friends, you know.. amigos! Amigos! I love that.
Any specific advice you’ve received?
Asiedu: Yeah, you know there’ve been a couple of guys who come up to me and just say ‘keep your head up’ and ‘keep doing what you’re doing. You’re headed down the right path. Keep working hard. Don’t slip up.’ You know, things that can help me become the best I can be. Guys see that coach brought me here for a reason, so they want to guide me and help me to be the best I can be. So far, so good. I got no complaints. I love being here any day, any time of the hour. It’s a great place to be, to die, to live. And I’m here to do all of that.
Where do you fit in on this roster?
Asiedu: I see myself that I can make an impact on this team. As I get more comfortable, as I get coached a little more, I’m here to compete. I love everybody on the field and they deserve it. I’m just trying to keep up with my good work to be the best I can be and once my time comes to deliver, I’ll go out there and deliver. I can see myself as an impact player on this team. If something happens to someone, I can always be ready to go in there and make a difference. But for now, there are people who deserve it, because they were here before me, they worked their asses off. I’m just a youngin’, so I just want to deserve the opportunity when my times come, and I’ll deliver.
Have there been moments where you realized you belong at this level?
Asiedu: Yeah, there’s been a few moments. I’m training well and there are times you can feel like it’s not much different — just the intensity level. If you can match that, you can be out there to do your thing. And we always play against the starters, so it’s much more difficult. They’re mature players. But once you’re in there, they’ll guide you and make sure you’re doing the right things. But the more you play with them, the better you get. So when the game comes and they put you in there to love it, you love it with them because they have guided you and they know you can do it. Training wise, I’m keeping up. We’re all learning, we’re all taking it in to become better every day, every hour.
I’m learning as much as possible to be the best I can be here. I have great experienced players around me and I’d love to be in their shoes. But it’s good to learn! There’s not much better than that. As a young boy, you gotta learn, and when your time comes, you go out there and deliver. Right now, patience is the key. You work hard every day, you take your time, you consume everything, and once your time comes, you go deliver. It’s been great, great, great for me so far.