By Scott Mackar & Josh Staph
After five years with D.C. United, when he tortured defenders with his speed, creativity and ball-handling skills, Bobby Convey had demonstrated enough ability to catapult overseas to Reading FC of the English First Division. Paid Reading's highest transfer fee ever, Convey led the Royals to the '05-'06 league championship with his dominating play, earning a promotion to the English Premiere League the following season. The left-footed midfielder, who started for the U.S. in the 2006 World Cup, will undoubtedly contribute in huge ways to the team's success in 2010. Here's how he gets it done before he gets it done.
STACK: What's your mindset heading into a big game?
BC: I try to stay focused and not let anything surrounding the game affect me. I try to go out, enjoy playing and just try to win.
Do you have any pre-game rituals you keep consistent?
BC: I usually get in the hot tub, stretch and listen to my iPod; that's about it. I listen to Eminem and other hip-hop; that kind of music gives me energy to perform.
How have you developed into one the most composed players in soccer?
BC: I left home at 14 years old and had to grow up quickly. So I've always tried to think through something before I do it. I've been around adults since I was 14, and I've given my whole life so far to soccer. When you're around adults, you learn to be composed, speak well and just be an adult. Being around a good group of people my whole life has kept my feet on the ground.
How has your experience playing overseas been so far?
BC: It's been good, and I can't really ask for more. It's the highest place I can get in terms of my career, and I really enjoy playing with the apprenticeship. It's great to test yourself against some of the best players in the world, and in the best league and best stadiums in the world. It's something no one can ever take from me. I played in the MLS for five years, and it was time for a new challenge.
How does preparing for a World Cup compare to getting ready for the regular season?
BC: In the apprenticeship, all the games are like the World Cup. But I was definitely nervous for my first World Cup match, because it's a huge tournament. It's the best players from each country, and I was really honored to be a part of it. I was nervous for my first apprenticeship game, too, but then I learned to settle in. Every game over here is completely sold out. It's crazy and exciting.
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