Making a trade near to the end of the season is harder to adjust, than most other trades. But Wells Thompson decided the time was right to request a move and now he is now a part of a team looking for MLS Cup glory in the shape of Chicago Fire. Most recently I managed to catch up with Wells for an exclusive interview with www.soccernightexclusive.wordpress.com. ‘Mr Versatile’ took time out of his hectic schedule to talk about his time in Colorado as well as how key religion is to him.

For all the readers who are unfamiliar with Wells Thompson. How would you describe your playing style as well as your strengths ?

I am someone who gives it his all every time I step on the field. I have always played with a little chip on my shoulder because there have been many who have doubted me along the way. I guess I would consider myself blue collar, a little old fashioned, as I believe hard work is such a crucial attribute to have.

What age did you start and how did you get into soccer ?

I started playing soccer when I was young, like 4 or 5 years old. My parents just signed me up, as they did with my older brother who played.

Have you always wanted to become a professional soccer player ?

Playing professionally was a dream that I have had as long as I can remember!

During your growing up stages as a soccer player, who would you say has been your biggest inspiration?

There have been so many who have played a role in my life and soccer career, and I am thankful for every single one of them. My older brother is a huge reason why I am the way I am. He was a great athlete himself and I just wanted to be like him. We competed every day and I hated losing so did everything I could to beat my older brother. Whether I knew it at the time or not, he taught me a lot about competing and life in general. My parents did and continue to support, encourage, and be there with me through it all. No doubt without them I wouldn’t be where I am today! Soccer was truly a family affair and something that we all loved to do, as my brother and sister played competitively as we’ll. But none of this would be possible if it were not for Jesus! He blessed me with the gifts, talents, and abilities to play this game and He deserves all the credit, honour, and glory!

Your first senior club was in the USL Premier Development League (4th Tier) with Carolina Dynamo. What did it feel like to get your first chance at senior soccer even though it was in the 4th tier ?

The Carolina Dynamo was a team that I played for during the summer, between college seasons, to stay fit and sharp and to continue growing and improving as a player. It was some of the best years of my life soccer wise, and something that I will always remember and cherish. They are a top notch soccer program and it was such a blessing playing for them!

What was the standard of soccer like in USL during your time in the league ?

The standard was pretty good. We had a very good team during my time there, which was a huge reason why it was so much fun!

What did you learn during your time at Carolina Dynamo ?

There is no doubt that I grew into a more confident and complete player during my time at the Carolina Dynamo.

In 2007 you was drafted in the 1st round but 5th overall by New England Revolution in the MLS superdraft. Being born and raised in Carolina, how much of a heart wrench was it moving away from you home town ?

It was tough to leave home but the excitement of being drafted was so much greater that there was none of me that focused on that part. It was a new adventure, a dream come true, and something i never thought would happen so I was eager and ready to get going!

In your first year at New England you scored the third goal in the 2007 Lamar US Open Cup final, which eventually was the winning goal. How did it feel to score the winning goal in a cup final ?

It was unreal! It was the game winning goal that gave the Revolution their first trophy, so it was really special! Hard to really describe, and I think the older I get the more I realize what a blessing that goal was.

Could you go through the play of how the goal was scored ?

I think somebody played a through ball to either Pat Noonan or Taylor Twellman who passed me the ball on top of the 6yard box as they saw me making me run. So all I had to do was put it on target and fortunately it went in.

Also in 2007 campaign New England Revolution managed to reach the MLS Cup final eventually losing 2-1 to Houston Dynamo. Despite losing how did it feel to be inches close to claiming the biggest prize in MLS ?

2007MLS Cup: It was such a blessing making it all the way to the finals my rookie year. It is another example in my life where I am able to look back on and reflect further on. During that time I was just a wide eyed rookie trying to take everything in. It was a disappointment for sure to lose that game, but it was an honour to be there and that year will always be special to me.

You played alongside Revs legend Taylor Twellman, how good was Twellman to play alongside ?

Taylor was a great player! He is an unbelievable finisher and goal scorer and it is a shame that his career had to end early because of concussions.

As well as Taylor Twellman you played in the same side as current Revs Head Coach Jay Heaps. What was his playing style ?

Jay Heaps was a real competitor who hated to lose and always played with such passion and heart! He was a good defender who had a great playing career.

Over here in Britain Steve Nicol is well known to Liverpool fans especially. What was he like to play under ?

Steve Nicol was a great guy to be around. He was a great player and it was really cool to be able to learn from a guy with his résumé. He was a real fun guy to be around and all the guys enjoyed having Steve as a coach.

In January 2010 you was traded to Colorado Rapids. Was you happy about making the move after the success you had in Boston ?

I was very grateful for my time in Boston and thankful for the coaches and staff providing me with an opportunity to play professional soccer. It was difficult leaving, but it was the best thing to do for my career.

Leading up to the MLS Cup play-offs you saw regular first team soccer throughout the season. Did you think your versatility helped with you seeing more game time ?

Yes I do believe that my versatility helps me. I am not limited to one position but I have shown that I am capable and more than able to play almost any position on the field.

The Rapids finished 5th in the Western Conference in the 2010 MLS Cup winning season. Did you know at that point heading into the play-offs that you could upset the odds and claim the Championship ?

Not too many people would have bet on us winning the MLS Cup, but we believed in ourselves as players and as a team. We were playing good soccer at the right time and had the ball bounce our way a few times, which any team needs at times to be successful. We just went out every game and gave it our all with the belief that we belonged and would win, and that is what happened!

Colorado defied all the odds and defeated FC Dallas at RFK Stadium to win the MLS Cup. How did it feel to finally win the trophy, after the previous year you missed out in the final ?

It was a great feeling to win the MLS Cup, especially after losing in my rookie year. It is a whole lot better being on the winning side at any time! But you know what, what truly matters are the relationships that are established and the things that you have to battle through and overcome as individuals and as a team. The trophies will rust and people will forget who won the 2012 MLS Cup, but what you can’t take away are the memories and bonds that are created! Life is so much more important than championships and games won, and winning this Championship really helped me realize that! I understand more now that life is about loving God with all your heart and loving others as well!

What was the main benefactor for winning the MLS Cup 2010 ?

It is hard to pick one main reason to say how or why we won the MLS Cup. There are so many things that have to go your way in order to do something that special. We had a really God group of guys on the team. Everyone got along well and we were fortunate to not have many injuries throughout the year. We had good coaches and a good training staff and we all came ready to train and play. So it really wouldn’t be fair to say it was this or that, but really it was a whole bunch of things that came together to create a championship team.

Gary Smith who led the club to success is now the manager at Stevenage Borough in England. What was Gary Smith’s playing philosophy?

Gary was a good guy and I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to play under him, Steve Guppy, Brett Jacobs, and Dave Kramer. He worked us hard and expected a lot from us. He wanted to win and so did all the guys on the team.

I personally am a huge fan of Matt Pickens, Conor Casey and Pablo Mastroeni. What was it like to practice and play alongside guys with so much quality ?

They are great guys! Matt Pickens was one of my best friends on the team as well as my roommate on the road, so we became very close over the years. I miss those guys a lot and feel very blessed to have played with them. On a personal level we all got along which was fantastic, and from a professional level it was a true honour to play alongside and learn from these guys. They all have had awesome professional careers and to say that we are friends and that I played with them is really cool.

Can Matt Pickens become USMNT keeper in the future ?

Absolutely, no doubt in my mind.

In 2011 you won the Humanitarian Award for your work in the community. How much do you think the community matters to soccer ?

I love Jesus and understand that I would not have any of this if it was not for him. He has blessed me with soccer as a platform to give back to others and that is what I try to do! Like I said earlier, soccer is temporary and will only last for a short time, but when we focus on God and the things of God we are living out our purpose.

What would you say were your highlights during your time in Colorado ?

I was able to meet so many cool people and God opened up so many doors with others in and throughout the community. I was also able to play with so many good guys who were extremely talented, so I guess you could say that the whole experience was a highlight. I loved everything about Colorado and it will always hold a special place in my heart and life.

After nearly two years at Colorado, a few months back you requested a trade. What was your main reason for requesting a move away ?

We had a new coach and it became clear that I was not part of his plans. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith. After much prayer and conversation with my wife, family, and loved ones it became clear to us that asking for a trade was what we needed to do. It is always tough to do, but we had to trust God and his leading in our life.

How quickly have you settled into life in Chicago ?

The change has been a whole lot tougher than I thought that it would be. Joining a team at the end of the year is completely different from joining a team at the beginning. There were a lot of things that, because of this being my first time being traded during the season, that I had to go through that I never even thought of. It was an answer to prayer though, and I am extremely glad and thankful that Chicago wanted me to join their team and have given me another opportunity to play. We are still getting settled in, slowly but surely! We are excited about the blessing of being able to learn about a new city and for what God has in store for us here.

What do you miss about Colorado ?

I miss a whole lot about Colorado. I miss all my friends and the relationships that I had established over the years. I miss the guys on the team, I miss our Church, ‘The Summit Denver’, that my wife and I just recently became members of before the trade. I miss the beautiful mountains and wonderful weather.

You moved from a team not in the play offs to one who are in clear contention to go all the way in the MLS. Are you glad to have an extended season and pursue another MLS Cup ?

Absolutely! Anytime you are able to compete for a championship is awesome and what we all work so hard for.

Has it been frustrating for you not starting a game yet for the Fire ?

Of course we all want to start, but when I came to Chicago they were playing and continue to play well. They had won 5 or 6 in a row when I arrived, so there has been no need to make any changes.

Can Chicago Fire win the MLS Cup 2012 ?

No doubt, absolutely! We have a great squad!

What is Frank Klopas like to play under ?

Frank is a very passionate coach, something that I like. He has done a great job with the team and I am pleased that he has brought me in.

Throughout your twitter feeds, your interviews and life as a whole you refer to your religious beliefs. How much of a part does religion play in your day to day life as a soccer player ?

Jesus is everything to me. In all that I do I try to honour him and ultimately do it for HIM. He is the reason for everything.

Not many British fans know but you have openly spoken about your troubles with Alcohol and Drugs within your early teens. Has religion been a keen factor to turning your life around ?

Many people get confused about the difference between religion and relationship. My personal relationship with Jesus is the reason why I live my life the way that I do. I understand that I am not perfect and continue to make mistakes all the time, but I strive to live a life that honours Christ in all that I do! As I understood that Jesus had sacrificed Himself for me and that He loved me unconditionally, the only response that was appropriate was one of complete worship and a life lived for Him! Jesus is the only way to explain why I am where I am today! I have messed up so many times that it really makes no sense that I am still alive and able to play soccer professionally.

Where would you like to see your career in five years’ time ?

It would be so cool to still be playing in 5 years. I never thought I would play 1 day as a professional, so now I am just trying to enjoy the ride and this amazing blessing that God has so graciously given me.

What advice would you give to any youngsters looking to follow in your footsteps ?

To believe and go after your dreams. There were so many people who doubted me and said I was never good enough. It is amazing what you can accomplish with hard work, positive thinking, and a God attitude. Don’t let others bring you down! And give it your all, everything that you have, whenever you are able to play and leave the rest up to God. I am no more special than anybody else because I play soccer for a living, God loves us all the same and we must trust in His plan for our lives and know that He is good, trustworthy, and faithful! And most of all, don’t forget to always have fun.

Best Game You’ve Played In

No Comment.

Best Goal Scored

No Comment.

Best Player Played Alongside

Steve Ralston.

Best Player Played Against

Landon Donovan.

Best Friend/s In Soccer

Sam Cronin, Matt Pickens

Team Supported Growing Up

I didn’t really follow soccer or any particular team growing up.

Favourite MLS Stadium

Livestrong Sporting Park.

Favourite Food

Southern Comfort Food And Anything Sweet.

Favourite Drink

Sweet Tea.

Favourite Vacation Destination

My Grandma’s Place At Atlantic Beach, NC.

Favourite Film

Gladiator.

Favourite TV Show

Sportscenter.

Favourite Music

Country And Christian

First Car

White Suburban

Hobbies And Interests Outside Of Soccer

Being with my family and my dog River, hunting, fishing, reading, surfing and goofing off.

What Would You Do If You Won $1Million

Give It All Away.

Teammates – Colorado Rapids

Loudest

No Comment.

Quietest

Brian Mullan.

Best Trainer

No Comment.

Biggest Moaner

No Comment.

Biggest Joker

Drew Moor.

Most Intelligent

No Comment.

Least Intelligent

No Comment.

Most Skilful

Pablo Mastroeni.

Worse Taste In Music

No Comment.

Worse Dress Sense

No Comment.

I would like to personally thank Wells for his efforts during the interview the process it has been an absolute pleasure.

By Anthony Bedworth

@usbritain05

@maplesoccer123

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