Off the PitchSep 07, 2018

Starting 11: First Season with Brian White

In Starting 11, we cover a specific player topic through a series of 11 questions answered directly by the players. At the mid-way point of the season, we're getting an inside look from first year players on what it's like to make the transition to the MLS. 

Brian White grew up in New Jersey, and played for the Player Development Academy from elementary school all the way through his high school graduation. White went on to spend four years at Duke, where he made 73 appearances and scored 23 goals for the Blue Devils. He also spent time with the New York Red Bulls II U-23 team from 2015-2017. 

After college, White was drafted 16th overall in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft by the New York Red Bulls. On August 29th, White made his first start for the Red Bulls and scored his first MLS goal in a 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo.  

1. Where were you before coming into the MLS?

I was drafted out of Duke University as the 16th overall pick after spending four years at the school.  During the summers I played for the New York Red Bulls PDL team and, what is now the North Carolina FC PDL team.  Growing up in New Jersey I played for Player Development Academy (PDA) from third grade all the way up to graduation. I could not be where I am today without all the different teams that I played on.  

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2. What has surprised you the most about playing in the MLS?

I don't know if anything has really been surprising.  I always knew that it was going to be a high level and challenge me in every facet of the game.  I have just enjoyed playing and learning at the MLS level.  

3. What has been the biggest adjustment or change?

I think the biggest adjustment has been trying to prove myself again.  I think anytime you jump to the next level you should always have a chip on your shoulder to prove that you belong.  And just trying to learn from my mistakes and improve each and everyday is always a challenge you have to take upon yourself. I have and I'm just trying to enjoy the process.  

4. When did you get your first official minutes and how did it feel to step on the field for the first time as an MLS Player?

 I got my first official minutes on August 18th in Vancouver.  I wouldn't say I was nervous, rather anxious.  Playing in the MLS has been something that I have always wanted to do and when I was told I was going in I just tried to take the moment in for all that it was.  Then went out onto the field and tried to help the team the best I could.  

5. Were there players that you looked up to growing up?

My favorite players growing up we’re Steven Gerard and Wayne Rooney!

6. What do you do in your down time? Do you have any hobbies or personal projects?

I like going home and just relaxing, watching Netflix.  Luckily I live close to NYC so on off days it's always fun to go out and explore the city. 

7. Do you have a mentor or someone you look to for support? If so, how has that helped you?

 My long-time PDA coach, Sam Nellins, has always been a mentor to me.  He has always looked out for me and given me a kick when I needed it.  

8. What has been the most exciting moment for you so far this first year?

The most exciting moment was when I got to start against the Houston Dynamo on August 29th.  It was only my second MLS appearance and it was at home.  Since I grew up in New Jersey I had a lot of friends and family at the game.  I ended up scoring the only goal as we won 1-0.  The goal was on the supporter end where all my friends and family were seated, so to score and celebrate in front of them was a special moment. 

9. What is your favorite part of playing professionally?

My favorite part of playing professionally is playing.  I mean everyday I either get to go out and train or go out and play in a game. It doesn't get any better than playing soccer everyday.  

10. What are your goals for the rest of this season and for your career?

For the rest of the season I want to help the team the best I can. Whether that is coming on and scoring goals or coming on and seeing out a game or starting, I'm willing to do anything for the team so that we can win the Cup.  In terms of my career, I want to be the top goal-scorer.  

11. Now that you have spent some time in the league, what advice would give to new guys coming in?

The best advice I can give would be to just trust the process. It may seem like a cliche at this point but it's true.  If you need to start in the USL and work you're way up that's fine.  Just everyday think about the goal and go out and work for it.  Nothing comes easy, but it's worth it. 

You can follow Brian on Twitter and Instagram