Defender Conor Donovan has been with Orlando City Soccer Club since the club joined MLS in 2015. But this is Donovan’s first full preseason with the club, having missed two weeks in the first preseason and missing all of last year’s preseason with an injury. This season, Donovan has a lot of new faces to look up-- including U.S Men’s National Team Defender Jonathan Spector.
“It’s been really good. Honestly, I feel a lot better,” Donovan said after training. “To get a full offseason and to start with the group has been really exciting. And it’s a lot of hard work, but I honestly think I’ve progressed well and I came in really good shape.”
The Orlando City defense has seen the return of players from last season, such as Donovan, Seb Hines, Jose Aja, and Kevin Alston. But it has also seen the introduction of new players, such as Jonathan Spector. Donovan has been able to take advantage of working with the people around him.
“Obviously, Spector is a good guy to look up to. He’s had a really successful career and he’s gonna be successful here,” Donovan said. “The one thing I’ve really learned from him is that he’s so professional. He’s a very, very professional player off the field and on the field. He’s really well-spoken and he communicates really well.”
“Aja, we’re still both kind of young, so we both work really good together and we learn from each other’s experiences,” Donovan continued. “And then Seb [Hines] has been a great asset for me too, I go and talk to him a lot about different tactics and different positions.”
Donovan said he feels a lot better this year-- quicker, stronger, more agile. He said that his main goal is to get as much playing time as possible, whether that’s with Orlando City B or the MLS squad.
“Whether it be with OCB or the MLS team,” Donovan said. “Just to play a lot and compete for a starting job in the MLS squad.”