Randal Serr: Obviously, your first year in MLS was a tough one due to your injury. What have you learned over your first year as a professional and how hungry are you to start playing again?
Jordan Allen: The injury allowed me to take a step back and learn in a way that I previously never had before. I would watch our games at the Rio Tinto and study a specific player and their movements each night. Paying specific attention to the way that guys like Plata and Grabavoy create space and make decisions on the ball I think is something that will benefit me moving forward. I'm obviously beyond excited to get back to playing again. 2014 was as big of a disappointment as it could've been and I'm really looking to make up for it.
RS: Where did you grow up and how did you get involved in soccer? What made you love it?
JA: I grew up in Rochester, NY. My dad played for the local Rochester Rhinos in the USL for a year and then became a coach in their youth system meaning that I was constantly around the game growing up. Soccer was a culture in my house and it was it the only thing I ever wanted to do.
RS: What are your hobbies outside of soccer? Favorite movies? Books? Sports teams?
JA: The time off from my injury was supposed to be the time that I'd find a hobby outside of soccer but I don't think I really ever did. I ended up spending weekends just watching local youth soccer tournaments in the area. Whether I'm playing soccer or just watching it, it pretty much encompasses who I am. I would say however that I have a pretty big rivalry with Justen Glad in ping pong at the moment. I'm also pretty into politics, but I don't think I'd be elected for office in Utah anytime soon.
RS: What is your perception of the Real Salt Lake fan base as compared with other fan bases around the league and world? What makes this fan base unique?
JA: It is without a doubt one of the best in MLS. Even after making only a couple of appearances and not playing for months I would still have the occasional stranger recognize me and ask me how my knee was. In other cities I don't think you have that same knowledge of the team and passion as we do here in Salt Lake.
RS: Before your injury you saw minutes with the first team a few times. Why do you think you were getting the nod ahead of a couple of very good, veteran players? What kind of things was the coaching staff telling you?
JA: Although it was my first official year on the roster I was not a newcomer to the team. I had spent plenty of time over the course of two years training and playing in reserve games so it was not as much of a rapid start as it seemed. We have a very competitive roster and a coaching staff who rewards those who earn it, regardless of name or age. In the eyes of the coaching staff at that time I was earning it.
RS: What are training sessions like and how do players earn minutes?
JA: Training sessions are always intense and competitive. Everybody competes for their spot each day and those who prove themselves in practice and the games are rewarded with playing time.
RS: Real Salt Lake's USL Pro team, Real Monarchs, will be having their first season in 2015. Do you see yourself playing many minutes with that club?
JA: My goal is to contribute to the first team, that is why I am here. If I'm not able to do that immediately then the Monarchs offer a great opportunity to get minutes and continue my development. The appointment of Freddy Juarez is a big part of that and if I do spend time with the Monarchs I'll be looking forward to working with him again.
Part two of our interview with Allen comes tomorrow, where he talks about the academy, joining Real Salt Lake, and more.