After years of watching from the sidelines, Cody Cropper is ready to see his name etched into the starting XI.
Cropper, 23, signed with the New England Revolution in August 2016 after seven years in England. The US youth international learned a lot during his time with Ipswich Town, Southampton, and MK Dons, though playing time was intermittent. After only collecting nine appearances, Cropper decided to move home.
“I’ve done seven years in Europe in a number two role, if you want to put it that way, and now I’m looking to come back and play,” Cropper told The Bent Musket.
Grabbing the top spot won’t be easy for Cropper, who faces stern competition from MLS veterans Bobby Shuttleworth and Brad Knighton, along with young upstart Matt Turner.
Head coach Jay Heaps hasn’t exactly tipped his hand on the matter, claiming that the competition is open. The gaffer says he will use preseason to assess what each goalkeeper has to offer.
Cropper is hoping that his years in Europe will give him an advantage.
“Without playing a lot of games, I offer experience coming from the settings that I played in while in England,” Cropper noted. “I offer a different dynamic having played in Southampton and MK Dons with the style of play out of the back.”
Cropper was able to showcase some of his abilities when he featured in last season’s finale against the Montreal Impact. The netminder made two saves that night, helping his team collect a 3-0 victory.
Cropper, who spent five days a week in the gym during the off-season, is hoping for more of the same this season. In order to do so, however, he must become the first-choice goalkeeper.
“I think there’s a lot that we all offer in very good ways,” Cropper said of the goalkeeping corps. “We’re all very diverse. It will be grind through preseason and obviously a friendly competition.”