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Little Miss OTP: Interview with Daniel Bruce

By Little Miss OTP, 11/20/19, 3:00PM MST

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Little Miss on the Pitch sits down with the 14th signed player of 2020

After school when Mom told me the news that Brucey was coming back next season, I felt surprised and happy. I love him. He is very nice to people, but he’s extra nice to me. Then Mom told me I got to interview him later that day, and I was so excited and nervous. We went to the United Office and Auntie Liz and Jess and Dorian were there too, (and my buddy Tyler). I thanked him for meeting with me on such an exciting day, (he said there was nowhere else he’d rather be) and these are the questions that I asked him.


Rapid Fire Questions: 

 

Favorite Music: "Like Ed Sheeran. Low-key blue-eyed soul."
Favorite Color: "Maroon."
Favorite Movie: "Man on Fire, Denzel Washington."
Red or Green Chile: "Green."
What is one think on your 'bucket list'?: "Being a fan of New Mexico United. Yeah."
Morning or night?: "Morning."
Pet peeve: "8-year old girls. Ha ha no, pens that don’t work. So annoying."
Guilty Pleasure: "Soccer."
What do you do for fun?: "Soccer. Drinking coffee, talking with teammates. Finding out about people."
Tell me a joke: "Knock Knock (Who’s there). Interrupting sheep. (Interrup….) “BAAAAAAA!”

[LMOTP]: When did you first come to the United States?
[DB]: “I first came to the United States was 2015 I think. Or the middle of 2014 actually. And I studied at UNC Charlotte in North Carolina. I was there for just under 5 years and enjoyed that greatly, and so yeah this is my first time living elsewhere in America, but it’s been a great first year.”
 
[LMOTP]: What is it like in your hometown in England?
[DB]: “My hometown in England. So I live in the outskirts of Manchester, up North, in England, in a town called Warrington. It’s very industrial, it does rain a lot, it’s quite grey. I love it. My dad was born there; I was born in the same hospital as my dad, in this small town in England and I love it. It’s my favorite place in the world.  This place is fantastic, but Warrington is in my heart. I played there as a young kid, and played for Warrington town growing up and yeah, I’ll always have a place in my heart for Warrington.”
 
[LMOTP]: Tell me about your family.
[DB]: “My family. I have a wonderful Mum and Dad. My dad played rugby growing up, he never played soccer, so in England, I played soccer quite later than a lot of people. My Mum is an amazing woman. She was born and raised in Burnley, which is again a very industrial but soccer centered town in England. And I have an older brother called Sam. He’s now 26, and he studies political philosophy at Oxford University, and he hates sport. So there’s that. He got the brains in the family; we’ll put it that way.”
[LMOTP]: How did you end up here in New Mexico on United?
[DB]: “That’s a great story in itself. I played for college, UNC Charlotte, and that’s in North Carolina, where, obviously the state is right beside where Troy is from in South Carolina. So he coached at the local USL side, Charlotte Independence, so once or twice in summers I would go and train with the Charlotte Independence and we’d play them in pre-seasons. Yeah, I think Troy liked the look of me and my style of play, and what I brought to the table, always had an interest in signing me but it didn’t happen until quite a bit later on because (he never lets me forget this) I traveled to a few other teams, mainly because of proximity and New Mexico was the furthest away. So that’s where I landed last, but it was definitely meant to be in the plan, because I don’t think I would want to be anywhere else. Through Troy and Troy alone is how I ended up with New Mexico.“
[Lil Miss OTP]: What was it like making the decision to return to the team next year?
[Daniel Bruce]: “Honestly it was an easy decision. With the teammates that I have here, and the example that the older guys set, the chance to improve as both a player on the field and a person off the field; it made it really easy for me to sit down and say, “Hey, for my career, and as an individual, this is the best place for me. So, yeah, it wasn’t a hard decision at all.”
 
[LMOTP]: Was it kind of hard to keep it secret once you knew for sure?
[DB]: “It was. It was, yeah. I obviously, I’m sure the club will forgive me, I told my Mum and Dad, and they’re pretty quiet and they are from a different country, and I didn’t have to keep it a secret for too long because it got announced today.”
 
[LMOTP]: What motivates you to bring so much energy to the field?
[DB]: “Um, I think from a young age, I always saw being able to play soccer as a privilege. To be able to walk out onto a field, especially with the fans that we have, with the support we do, I owe it to the fans to work hard as much as possible. They pay a ticket to come in, and if we don’t give 100% or I don’t give 100%, I’ve done them a disservice. So this is a privilege, and you should work at things like that. Yeah, I think both those reasons combined is why I like to give 100% when I step on the field every time.”
[LMOTP]: What is your favorite food at home and here?
[DB]: “My favorite at home in England is a meal called Toad in a Hole, and it’s like a big Yorkshire Pudding and it has chopped up sausages, potatoes, and gravy in it. A lot of people come to England and they say the food is not great. It’s like pastry in it and it’s good. You’d like it if you tried it. Over here, I like a lot of things. Mostly eat pretty healthy.”
 
[LMOTP]: What was your favorite moment with New Mexico United?
[DB]: “Obviously I have a lot of great memories, making my professional debut in front of fifteen and a half thousand people at home was an amazing moment. Beating Dallas away, that was phenomenal. But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t scoring my first professional goal from 30 yards out on a half volley to win the game from home.  Scoring your first professional goal under any circumstances is an amazing thing, but to do it that way was a dream come true, so that was probably my favorite.”
 
[LMOTP]: What kind of advice would you give to a kid that wants to be a professional soccer player?
[DB]: “Love the game. Just love the game. Watch all the soccer you can. Premier League in the mornings. Saturate up on the game. Watch it, talk about it. I remember being a young lad and I would play in car parks when my Mum was shopping. It was like Smith’s, we had a car park and we used the parking spaces as goals, and that would be what I would play on, on the concrete. I would just find a way. I wouldn’t complain, I just loved the game so I just wanted to play it at all places and all times. Wind, rain, snow, I would want to play soccer. I think the most important thing for young people is just stay in it, just love it, want to play every day. Be surrounded by the game.”

 

[LMOTP]: What were you proud of this past season, and where would you like to improve?
[DB]: “I think what I’m most proud of is being part of a team that had a great start to a season, did some great things at the start, and then throughout two-thirds of the way through, towards the end, had a tough run. And there was a lot of pressure because we’d already set a standard, and maybe we weren’t meeting those standards and we managed to grind out a spot in the play-offs. And I think to come through that difficult part of the season and to finish with a playoff spot in our first year, I think is something we can all look at and be very proud of. I would love to improve my ability to see what’s next. So a lot of the time the ball will be rolling to me, and it will end up at my feet, and then I’m thinking right what do I do with the ball. And at this level, a lot of the time, I was too late. I like to watch Juan Guzman in training and David Estrada. These guys are so good at before the ball’s even landed at their feet, they know what’s coming next. They know the next pass. They know they’re gonna shoot or set it or dribble. I think at the moment something I could improve on is before I’ve even got the ball, having a pretty solid idea of what’s coming next and what I can do with it."
 
[LMOTP]: How are the fans here different than other fans you have played in front of?

[DB]: “This is my first year as a professional, so it’s difficult to compare college, you don’t really get a huge amount of fans in college, so my experience with fans is mainly started this year. I think growing up in England there can be a cut-throatness to fans; there’s a slight edge of brutality when teams aren’t getting results and not winning and it’s all a bit everything’s fantastic or everything’s the end of the world. But I think New Mexico United there’s a good balance of we need to improve here or get better here and enjoying the high moments when they come along.”

[LMOTP]:  What is the best thing about the team culture?
[DB]: “A lot of good things. I think if I have to choose one it’s that no player is wanting or willing to put the team second to themselves. Every player knows that what we are doing is for the team, and whether it be in training or when you’re not playing and you feel like you should, or you’re on the bench, there isn’t a level of complacency or complaining. There isn’t a level of discomfort or disgruntledness that you see in a lot of other teams. Guys want to play and want to give the best of their ability at all times. And I think that’s very rare, and very special that the guys can be so invested in the team as a whole and want to put the team before themselves.”
 
[LMOTP]: What is your favorite place to go in New Mexico?
[DB]: “You mean apart from Isotopes on game day. I enjoy visiting different tea shops and coffee shops. Just today I went to New Mexico Tea Company for the first time near Old Town, and yeah just those little tea stores and coffee shops, Blackbirds, all these places are great. I like to go in the afternoon after training, and kind of sit and hang out and meet people there and say hi. I’m good friends with one of the owners of Prismatic and it’s just a really good place to just kind of hang out and reflect on the day or where you’re at in the season.
[LMOTP]: Who was your hero growing up?
[DB]: “Sounds cliché but my Dad was. He never played soccer, he played rugby, but you’ve gotta be tough to play rugby. It’s a tough man’s sport. And he was very good. I took a lot of inspiration from him because he worked so hard in anything he did. Friendships, relationships, the family, sport. My Dad was everything to me. If he said jump, I’d say how high.”
[LMOTP]: Tell me something people would find surprising about you.  Like, I am only 8 but I’m a reporter, and my mom can work on her own car.
[DB]: “Wow okay. Um, I’m a member of a church in town, called Christ Church. When I was younger, I never enjoyed speaking in crowds of people. Still to this day I’m not the best, I get nervous, so I have to work at that.”
[LMOTP]: What stresses you out?
“Soccer. That stresses me out. It brings you the most joy you can feel, but it also can bring you the most stress. You want to perform well, and you want to play well, and when you don’t, it’s tough because you think of the hours you put into it, the physical part, the training, and you put the effort in and it doesn’t materialize into playing well, it’s frustrating.”
[LMOTP]: What makes you calm?
[DB]: “Speaking to my Mum is lovely. I also like watching the Premier League on a Saturday morning with a coffee or something. I feel very at peace there watching the highest level of soccer.”

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