Exclusive: An interview with new Orlando City star Aurelien Collin

Aurelien Collin has a new home in Major League Soccer. The dominant French defender joined expansion franchise Orlando City from Sporting Kansas City in Monday’s half-day trading window in exchange for allocation money and future considerations.

Collin spent four successful seasons in Kansas City, making over 100 appearances for the club and although he must now concentrate on the next exciting chapter of his career, the 28-year-old centre-back will never forget his time with SKC.

“The last four years were the best of my life. Winning the MLS Cup and the US Open Cup were special moments for me,” he said.

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Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes revealed on Monday that Collin was only let go as a result of salary cap constraints and the 2013 MLS Cup MVP will definitely be missed at Sporting Park.

But Collin is glad that he has been able to stay in MLS by moving to Orlando, and is looking forward to playing alongside Brazilian superstar Kaka in 2015.

“I’m very happy. MLS is growing very fast and Orlando is a big city with big plans.

“Playing with Kaka will be an honor for me, both as a Christian and a soccer player, and I will learn a lot from him.”

Collin has played in France, Spain, Scotland, Greece, England and Portugal. But he has belonged in MLS ever since moving to the league in 2011.

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He knows the league and what is required to succeed, having won both the MLS Cup and US Open Cup with Sporting Kansas City. His experience will be vital for Orlando in their debut campaign and he will need to be a leader for those new to MLS in the Lions’ locker room, including Kaka.

Wednesday’s MLS Expansion Draft is another huge day for Orlando City as they have the chance to add some more much-needed depth to their squad.

And although many may assume the new boys will try and ease their way into life in Major League Soccer, Collin is targeting success from the onset.

Aurelien Collin Orlando City

When asked what his hopes for the team were in their inaugural campaign, he simply replied: “We want to make the playoffs!”

It will be fascinating to see how Orlando perform next season. But in Aurelien Collin, they already have a leader in defence. And the three-time MLS All-Star certainly knows how to succeed in the ever-growing world of Major League Soccer.

How good a signing is Aurelien Collin for Orlando City SC?

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Exclusive: An interview with Seattle Sounders’ Damion Lowe

In an exclusive interview with MLSGB, Seattle Sounders defender Damion Lowe explains how his first season in Major League Soccer has made him a “better man”, and he is now looking ahead to the playoffs with his Seattle teammates.

The 21-year-old Generation Adidas centre-back was drafted by the Sounders with the eighth pick of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and despite having his first season in the league disrupted by injury, the pacey Jamaican defender is staying positive and is looking ahead.

“I’ve learnt and understand the game more, because I am constantly in a professional environment and I’ve learnt how to handle situations on and off the field.

“I know I have to be prepared to be strong during good and bad times, such as during my injury. So far my experience [as a professional] has most importantly shaped me into a better man,” Lowe said.

Photo: Lowe was selected with the eighth overall pick of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft

Photo: Lowe was selected with the eighth overall pick of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft

Sounders coach Sigi Schmid recently described Lowe as Seattle’s “fastest defender”, a seriously impressive claim considering the 6ft 3in centre-back plays in the same side as USMNT star DeAndre Yedlin.

Lowe hasn’t been able to showcase his talents in MLS as he underwent surgery to his left hip in April, and subsequently missed four months, but he is back in contention now and is continuing to fight for his first start, with the playoffs fast approaching.

“In life nothing is guaranteed and at one point you can be at the top, and also at the bottom, but to believe in yourself and your ability is very important.

I think my injury was just a setback, it’s never too late to contribute to the team even if it’s the last game of the season, and I’m always looking to contribute. I have to plan for what is happening now.”

Photo: Lowe in action for the Sounders

Photo: Lowe in action for the Sounders

The Sounders have conceded a worrying 48 goals this season, and they will hope that Lowe can come in a make an impact when he is given his chance.

Chad Marshall in the number one defender in Seattle, but with Djimi Traore and Zach Scott both 34-years-old, there is undoubtedly a place in the side waiting for Damion Lowe.

He may have to wait until next season to make his mark, but the centre-back could be an MLS Cup winner in his first season as the Sounders are expected to go far in the playoffs.

And Lowe is not taking anything for granted, admitting that his side must continue to work hard if the Sounders are to lift the MLS Cup for the first time.

“Everyone wants to be a champion. We want to be champions too. But at the end of the day we know that we have to work hard for it.”