Many North American Soccer players have the added dream of testing the waters in Europe and it was no different for Chris Rolfe. After spending a spell in Denmark the Chicago Maestro returned to where it all began, instantly making an impact. Continuous game changing moments came from the feet of Rolfe, eventually helping the Fire to reach the play-offs in 2012. With the new season a matter of weeks away, Chris stopped by to answer some questions on his Danish adventure, love for Chicago and his ambitions for the new campaign, EXCLUSIVE for www.soccernightexclusive.wordpress.com

RolfeChris_MLS_ChicagoFirst and foremost for the readers who are unfamiliar with Chris Rolfe, how would you describe your playing style?

I try to make the game easier for the guys around me and give them an extra option. I think my defining quality is having quick feet which allows me to get my shot off quickly and allows me to get my feet in position to hit balls that other guys may struggle to hit first time.

What age and how did you begin your soccer journey?

I was 7 and started playing at the local YMCA.

Was it always your dream to become a professional soccer player?

I imagined playing for the national team for a long time because I wasn’t really exposed to professional soccer other than our professional indoor league at the time.

During your growing up stages as a soccer player, who would you say was your biggest inspiration and why?

I was a big fan of one of the Dayton Dynamo’s (NPSL) players, Dennis Brose and my youth club trainer Brian Kohen. I was also a big fan of the Dutch National Team and Dennis Bergkamp.

Chicago Fire v Houston DynamoYou returned to Toyota Park last season after a stint in Denmark, did you always want to make the move back to Chicago?

Chicago is where my professional career began, so it’s a special place for me. I was excited when the transfer went through last year.

Chicago Fire were knocked out in the Wildcard game during the play offs in 2012. How much of a disappointment was it to have your play-off run halted so early?

It’s always a disappointment to lose in the playoffs, especially after as good of a season as we had in 2012. We had a quality group capable of winning, so the loss wasn’t easy. Fortunately, we have another great group this year.

What did you think was the main hiccup to prevent Chicago from advancing?

We had a bit of a bad stretch leading up to the playoffs, and we weren’t in form going into that game against Houston. We weren’t able to identify and address some of our issues that caused us trouble toward the end of the season.

Columbus Crew v Chicago FireWithin the regular season mainly you was one of the stand out performers, from a personal perspective how would you sum up your season?

I was fortunate to jump into the lineup full of talented, hardworking players which made me look a lot better than I probably was last season. I was able to score a few goals, but overall I know I could’ve provided more for the team.

You managed to notch up eight goals in last season, was it a goal of yours – when you returned – to help the team with the scoring element of the game?

Of course that was one of the reasons I was brought back to Chicago. One of my main objectives was to increase our attacking productivity.

6437716-texture-of-denmark-flag-on-glossy-soccer-ballIn 2010 you moved out of the USA to move to AaB in Denmark, was it always a dream of yours to test yourself in Europe?

Growing up, MLS was not very accessible or visible where I lived, so as I got closer to the possibility of playing pro, Europe was discussed more than MLS. Once I got into the league and started to get a chance with the national team, the thought of Europe came back into mind.

Moving to a new country is a difficult move to make, how quickly did you settle into life in Scandinavia?

It took a month or two to even get a chance to settle in due to our pre-season training schedule.

4626987-superliga-aab-vs-obScandinavia is renowned for the cold and bitter weather conditions, did it take you long to adapt to your new conditions?

Playing games in the weather conditions there wasn’t too troubling, but the trainings, particularly in the winter, were difficult to get through at times. It only made me stronger though.

America is your home and many home comforts are hard to shake off, what did you miss most about your homeland?

Other than my friends and family, I missed the food. Chicago is a great culinary city and the food provides a sense of familiarity for me. When in a place that lacks all familiarity, something like food, which appeals to so many senses, is something that I started to crave.

At first injuries prevented you playing a lot in Denmark, but you made up for it further down the line, what is the standard of soccer like in the Danish League?

It was difficult dealing with that injury that lasted nearly 12 months or 1/3rd of my contract. It put a dent in my plans but I was happy with how I recovered from it prior to returning to Chicago.

2609256-chrisrolfehenningbagger_jpgWhat would you say were your stand out highlights during your time in Denmark?

I was most pleased with my consistency during the start of the 2011-2012 season where I started in 17 of our 18 league games.

Would you ever consider a return back to Europe if offered the chance again?

I will always be open to entertain job opportunities.

Chicago%20Fire%20PDLThe new MLS season is rapidly approaching, what is the main aim for Chicago Fire to achieve this season?

After what our team achieved last season, we may have a bit of a target on our backs, which could make this season a little more challenging. However, we are always looking for trophies and that will be our goal once again.

From a personal view point, what are you looking to do during the up and coming campaign?

Continue to build on how I was able to help the club last season.

After last season’s play-off disappointment what will be needed to ensure the Fire can challenge heavily for MLS Cup?

We had a great chance to succeed last season, but we hit a wall in our last few games in 2012. I think all of us, particularly our younger players, will come into this season with a better understanding of what needs to be done to get back to the playoffs and what needs to be changed to make a push for the Cup.

Can Chicago Fire win the 2013 MLS Cup?

Of course.

You currently have a US Open Cup winner’s medal, how nice would it be to add a MLS Cup winner’s medal to your collection?

The Open Cup was a great experience and I’m interested to see what it feels like to win the MLS Cup.

0130_NCSP_FIREPRACTICE4_t607Over the off-season and pre-season periods the organisation has acquired a number of players. How well are Jeff Larentowicz, Joel Lindpere and Maicon Santos settling into life at Chicago?

They’re great additions that will help us.

What do each of them offer to the team?

Good experience, tactically sound, and competitive spirits.

Columbus Crew v Chicago FireFavourite Goal You’ve Scored

2007 at FC Dallas.

Best Player Played Alongside

Landon Donovan and Cuauhtémoc Blanco.

Best Player Played Against

Paolo Maldini.

Team Supported Growing Up

Dayton Dynamo.

Favourite Food

Chipotle Burrito.

Favourite Drink

Laphroaig.

Favourite Film

Troy.

Favourite Music Genre

Country.

Favourite TV Show

Modern Family.

Hobbies And Interests Outside Soccer

Live music, ping pong, heli-skiing.

What Would You Do If You Won $1 million?

Buy a farm.

imagesCAORC761I would like to take this opportunity to thank Chris for his time and efforts during the interview process, it has been a massive pleasure.

 

@soccernightexcl

@maplesoccer123

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