Orlando City’s newest member took to the training ground today at Sylvan Lake Park for his first official practice with the club. Uruguayan center back Jose Aja, who was signed yesterday but has been training with the team for a couple of weeks, met with the media before today’s final training session before flying to Columbus to take on the Crew.
Speaking through an interpreter, Aja seemed pleased and relaxed in the hot Central Florida sun, as he answered questions at the club’s training facility. Here’s what the newest Lion had to say:
On how he feels to finally be part of Orlando City SC:
I’m really excited to have gotten here after so long going back and forth. The club first showed interest in me a year ago and I’ve been trying to make my way to Orlando for the majority of this time. I’m really excited that everything has worked out and I get to officially start training with the team.
On arriving in Orlando:
I was very pleased to come in and to see how the team has welcomed me -- everybody from the players, to the technical staff, to everyone within the club. It was really great to see them take me in in that way.
On what he has seen from Orlando City so far:
I noticed that the games that they play here in Orlando are very dynamic not only with the people that come to the game but they’re very entertaining games to watch. I got to see one team live from the stadium and one on TV back home. I can tell it was a very dynamic and physical group out there.
On whether it bothered him that Orlando City had no head coach in place when he was working on coming to MLS:
I can’t say that I was preoccupied. More than anything I was motivated. Because you know you have to come in and train and show yourself all over again to a new group. That in itself as a player is just going to motivate you but I can’t say I was preoccupied or taken back by it.
On his goals for the rest of the 2016 season:
As a player my first goal is obviously going to be the group goal. It’s very evident that everyone here wants to make the playoffs and I want to play my part in helping them reach that -- and on a personal level, just winning a starting position.
On what kind of player he is:
It’s a little awkward to talk about yourself. Hopefully once I start playing you guys will make up your own decision about what kind of player I am, but at the end of the day I can just say I’m a very concentrated player. I focus a lot on the game and hopefully you guys notice that.
On what he knows about MLS and how he feels about being here:
Back in my home country they actually play a lot of MLS (games on TV) so it’s definitely something that we as players and just as spectators watch from back home. It was exciting for me to make the crossover. It’s a personal development opportunity for me to come abroad and make it and be part of this MLS group. And, again, my goals are just to meet those group goals as well as meet my personal goals of getting as much playing time as possible in this league.