Player name: James Moberg
Position: Center Back
Last club: University of Washington
One thing you need to know
Moberg is another of the trio of Monarch and RSL players (Moberg, Gallagher and Schmidt) recruited to the University of Washington in the fall of 2012 along with new assistant coach Craig Waibel. If you add in recent signing Taylor Peay, who was two years ahead of the other three, you have four former Huskies on the defensive side of the ball.
What he brings to the team
Drafted by the Vancouver Whitecaps in the 2016 SuperDraft, Moberg eventually signed for the 2016 season with the Monarchs. Moberg struggled to find playing time for a variety of reasons. James had missed the greater part of his senior season due to a serious knee and leg injury, and was still returning for rehabilitation and attempting to come to fitness at the higher elevation without substantial playing time. A short term loan to North Carolina in the NASL also failed to give him any regular playing time.
While at Washington and with the U-23 Timbers, Moberg had played as a defensive midfielder, but this position was already well represented among the existing Monarch players. It was only when James was given a start at center back in August against the Swope Park Rangers that he began to figure into the team’s future plans.
Just as having a keeper with excellent ball skills like Rimando has proven very beneficial to RSL, being a center back with good ball skills could be of worth to both Moberg and the Monarchs in the 2017 season.
Why you should be excited
Moberg has already demonstrated a good deal of self-mastery in coming back from injury and fighting through his first professional season without seeing the pitch in any consistent fashion. New head coach Mike Petke will be looking for and featuring fighters just like he was as a player and Moberg has a lot left to prove.
Every sign indicates that Moberg will feature in any center back rotation the Monarchs establish this season. He looked excellent in his single start with Orozco in 2016 and his previous experience with Gallagher, Schmidt and Peay should prove to give him a basis for teamwork with most of any pairing going forward.
James also was on the spot to score his first professional in the opening match of 2017 with Portland Timbers 2 and won comment from his coach in an interview following the match:
Post match presser with the Gaffer. pic.twitter.com/c7pgIrIWWk— Real Monarchs (@RealMonarchs) March 26, 2017
Predictions for 2017
- James will not be satisfied with a single goal for 2017 and put another two into the back of the net for a total of three.
- Moberg will demonstrate his durability and exceed 1500 minutes during 2017 in a close four way race for time at center back.
- James will make three or four truly highlight-worthy open field plays on opponents during the season demonstrating his past as a midfielder.