After so many years in and around the Premier League, Australian fans and players alike were a bit shocked when 32 year old Tim Cahill decided to throw his hat in the MLS ring.
Needless to say, the Red Bulls Designated Player received more than a few questions from his teammates and countrymen in the midst of his latest jaunt with the Australian National team.
“The feedback was very positive,” Cahill said. “For me, it’s the unknown for all of them. All the Australian boys tend to go to the Middle East and Asia and my choice was the MLS.”
In choosing the United States’ top flight, Cahill has already been exposed to a few experiences that are uniquely American and he was more than happy to share those times with his teammates. “I think a lot of them already know about the stadiums. Playing away from home with no fans is pretty surreal,” he chuckled. “Kansas City and Houston, the experiences I got there, enjoying the atmosphere, the fireworks and the fighter jets and how patriotic they are with the National Anthem.
“For me, it’s the whole experience and the level of fitness in the way the players train and the way they keep their bodies. You have to be at the top of your game to play in this league.”
Cahill, who recently returned from a pair of World Cup qualifiers against Lebanon and Jordan, endured some hefty travel to find his way back to the Red Bulls. “It’s difficult being on two flights,” he said. “I flew straight off the game at 1:30am (against Jordan) so I could get back on American time yesterday morning and be fresh for (Friday’s) training. The key is how professional you can be and how serious you take your job. This is the MLS. I know I have to be fit to turn out three games in a week.
“I’ve done this for most of my career with Australia,” he continued. “The thing is, I need to make sure to stay professional. When I get into camp, I rest as much as possible and get enough treatment but also we train twice a day, we go to gym sessions in the morning and train in the afternoon. Sometimes it helps to be continuously training and to be working hard and to get the treatment in the evenings and being in that regimented situation.
“Like I said plenty of times before – there’s a reason why the Premiere League clubs and the best teams in the World come to America and play against the MLS. The stadiums, the crowds, the level of football; I know in my heart that I made the right choice.”