[INTERVIEW] Stylish New Red Bulls rookie central defenderTim Ream, a 22-year-old St. Louis product, has started all 19 of his team’s games and must surely be on the U.S. national team radar. He'll be tested on Saturday in front of a sellout crowd at Red Bull Arena when he plays alongside DP teammates Rafael Marquez and Thierry Henry-- who calls Ream "a great player with a bright future" -- against Landon Donovan and the Los Angeles Galaxy (Fox Soccer Channel, 6 pm ET). Ream discusses his smooth adjustment to the pros, his U.S hopes, and his soccer-playing childhood. ...
SOCCER AMERICA: Did you watch the USA-Brazil game on Tuesday and, if so, were you imagining how you would fit in with the U.S. national team?
TIM REAM:I watched the game. Do I want to be in there? Absolutely. It’s every kid’s dream.
Do I think I’m ready right now? I’m not one to say I’m better than this guy or better than that guy.
SA: Are you surprised about your quick adjustment to MLS?
TR: I said along I came in just wanting to be on the team. I wanted to be a part of something and for it to turn out the way it has – starting 19 games --- is more than I could imagine.
SA: What was the highest level of soccer you played before MLS?
TR:College. Four seasons at St. Louis University.
SA: Did you ever get close to being selected to a U.S. youth national team?
SA: When did you start believing that a pro career was possible for you?
TR: My sophomore year of college.
SA: What is the biggest challenge of playing in MLS?
TR:The main adjustment was the physicality of the league. If you get into a professional environment the physicality becomes a big part of the game. The brute force of it. Body to body.
SA: You seem to win balls without clashing with opponents. Getting to the ball before they do …
TM: I’ve never been the quickest guy or slowest guy, but I use my awareness of the field and my tactical and technical to overcome that. I’m not a physical guy.
SA: Did you watch a lot of soccer growing up?
TR: Yes, absolutely. I wasn’t the most avid follower but if there was soccer game on I’d watch it. … I watched the EPL the most.
SA: Did you have role models?
TR: I never modeled myself after one guy. I never went out in the backyard and said I want to be this guy or play like that guy.
I just developed on my own from high school and club ball. Club ball is probably the biggest area that influenced me.
SA: When did you join club ball?
TR:Seven grade, at 13, I started playing for Scott Gallagher.
SA: Who were your most influential coaches at the youth club?
TR: Tommy Howe was the biggest. Kevin Kalish helped out. There was also Tom Bielicki.
SA: What positions did you play growing up?
TR:I played wing mid. I played wing back. I played center mid in high school. In college I played a lot left back and eventually center back.
SA: Did you play much unorganized soccer did you play growing up?
TR: Oh yeah. I’m the oldest of five children. We always played in the backyard. We had a kick-back net. We were always shooting on each other. Always trying to make each other look foolish.
We played four vs. one. Keepaway from the little ones. See what they can do.
SA: Did your parents have a soccer background?
TR: My father played college ball at Maryville. He coached at Washington University. That’s when I got really into it.
Six or seven years he coached at Washington University. I went to their games and practices. I went to their away games.
SA: What’s the key to defending against the Galaxy and Landon Donovan?
TR: Donovan’s Donovan. He’s quick. He’s got pace. He can find seams. He can find holes. It’s going to be a difficult. We’re going to play team defense and try and keep it from being one-v-one battles.
We feel good because we got two shutouts the last two games.