Taken 18th in the 2013 MLS Supplemental Draft Anthony Arena looked to go from starting at Wake Forest to earning valuable minutes with the Houston Dynamo. He finally had his chance on the field in the June 1 game against the Columbus Crew after Eric Brunner went out injured. He looked less like a rookie and more like a veteran who wasn't afraid of Frederico Higuain or Dominic Oduro. Unfortunately, he suffered a right ankle sprain and spent the rest of the season working to come back from the injury.
"I thought I had a good year; learned a lot" Arena said about his first year with the team. "There is a pretty steep learning curve over all. I thought I got a lot better…I got into the first game and then I got hurt, had to work on coming back from injury. I think I learned a lot my first year without having a lot of playing time."
Limited playing time isn't something Arena is used to. He was a starting player at Wake Forest from the time he joined the team as a Freshman until he graduated. From the Seattle area he was part of the Sounders U-23 squad while at Wake. In high school he was a kicker on the football team, but got bored waiting on the sidelines. Soccer allowed him the freedom to be involved with the action throughout the entire game.
With pre-season now in full swing Arena is ready to show he wants to start. "I think it's always better this month, month and a half, to have a strong preseason before the season starts. My goal is before the season starts to look great and go from there and push for a spot. You can waste that time and you never get it back. It might be too late for you and you may have to go on loan or whatever. It's going to be a really important time for myself especially just to show again that I do belong and that I want to push for a spot on the team."
With Bobby Boswell gone to DC United this season the CB position opens up a bit, but it will be a tough competition. This off-season the Dynamo signed David Horst from the Portland Timbers and drafted AJ Cochran to add to the defender pool they had already.
"Right now I'm just focused on playing as much as I can early in the year and having a good preseason and playing well." Arena told Dynamo Theory about playing this year, "Its always up to the coaching staff, but I want to prove myself to be the best for the position by playing well and being consistent and playing well just making their job harder. That's all you can do, so honestly I just want more playing time and hopefully I can play well."
Not content on the bench Arena is ready to prove that he belongs on the field.