The 37th overall selection in the 2014 Superdraft by the Montreal Impact, George Malki is still early in his professional campaign. After playing in 26 matches for the USL's Arizona United, the 23 year old Malki decided the best next step would be with RGVFC and the Houston Dynamo organization. In only his second professional season, Malki will be one of the older members of the Toros' lineup. I was able to talk about that new role, as well as how he thinks the Toros stack up in the USL's Western Conference.
Q: How has it been playing under Wilmer Cabrera so far?
Malki: Its been great playing under Coach Cabrera thus far. I have played under him previously with the U-17 U.S. national team and he is a coach that wants the best for his players. He demands a lot from us and wants us to improve day in and day out because he wants us to reach our full potential.
Q: What kind of attack can we expect from RGVFC this season?
Malki: You can expect a dynamic possession style attack from the Toros this season. Moving the ball on the ground quickly and getting forward with combination play and unselfishness. Obviously hoping to score multiple goals a game!
Q: Have any of your teammates especially caught your eye in training?
Malki: To be honest, I didn’t really know any of the guys coming into camp, but I was surprised and impressed at how high the level has been. Each and every player here has different qualities that make them great!
Q: With experience playing in the USL's Western Conference, how do you think the Toros match up talent wise?
Malki: I believe that we will stack up extremely well with others in the USL talent wise, especially with the quality of players that we have. The coaching staff has done a great job instilling a style of play that best fits the type of players that we have.
Q: The roster has developed into a very diverse group. How is it having so many different backgrounds and nationalities in the locker room?
Malki: The diversity in the roster with such a variety of nationalities and backgrounds is brilliant. You are able to learn a lot about different cultures, which is always a cool thing for me personally. The locker room has been great thus far! A lot of laughs and getting accustomed to each other. The team has a great chemistry about them, and we are excited for the season to get going.
Q: Only being 23 years old yourself, you're one of the elder statesmen on the roster. What kind of advice are you able to pass along to the younger members of the team?
Malki: Coming in as an "older" guy on the roster, the best advice that I can offer to some of the younger guys is that soccer is a lifestyle. To be successful, you need to have the right mentality on and off the field. Taking care of your body and having a positive attitude will be key to success through a long season.
Q: How would you describe your play style? Any current pros you find yourself similar to?
Malki: I’d like to describe myself as a versatile player that can play in a few different positions. I am a technical player that can play on both sides of the ball. I like to use my speed and quickness to combine with others while moving the ball and getting into dangerous spots. I would say that I am a mix of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, with the vision of Zinedine Zidane and the finesse of Neymar. *laughs* On the real though, I would be lucky to compare myself to a Dani Alves, a quick wing back that likes to get up and down the pitch and that likes to combine and put dangerous balls into the box.
Q: Where's your favorite place to go in Texas so far?
Malki: I’ve been to Austin a few times and really enjoy it out there! Houston and Dallas are also nice!
Q: Are there any nicknames RGVFC fans should know before the season?
Malki: I’ll leave that up to the fans to make! The boys just call me by my last name, Malki.
Q: Have there been any exceptional goal celebrations in training yet?
Malki: There’s been some overly excessive dabbing going on with a few guys on the team… maybe a coach as well. You’ll have to wait and see! I don’t want to ruin any surprises.