New England Revolution goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic has some large shoes to fill but he’s still getting used to his new stomping grounds.
“I have to say that I have acclimated well to the team, but not as much to the city itself and the lifestyle,” the goalkeeper said on Friday. “I had to acclimate and get used to the field and the team, and I have to say that the greatest challenge for me is still the language barrier. But every day, my English is improving and it’s getting better.”
Petrovic was acquired in April and boasts 33 clean sheets in the Serbian top flight. So far with the Revolution, Petrovic is 1-1 with an .86 goals against average after making two starts in the U.S. Open Cup.
At least on the field, Petrovic has some help in terms of adjusting to MLS. Kevin Hitchcock is arguably the best goalkeeper coach in the league and learning from a future Arsenal player in Matt Turner is a massive help.
“I would say that the atmosphere among us is excellent, and we have good teamwork,” Petrovic said. “Everyone is helping me, even Brad [Knighton], Earl [Edwards Jr.], Jacob [Jackson], and Matt [Turner]. Kevin [Hitchcock] is trying to help me with all the little things that I need to learn and pick up, and he’s trying to fix my errors and whatever Bruce [Arena] is asking us to do. He’s really helpful and I will say that the atmosphere, again, is really excellent.”
In his first MLS start, Petrovic won’t have an easy matchup. New England is facing off against Johnny Russell and Sporting Kansas City. Besides the talent on the field, the 22-year-old will need to battle the elements as well with a Sunday looking to be a hot day in Missouri.
“In Kansas City, it will be like definitely hotter than here,” the goalkeeper said when asked about the weather report. “The weather over there is like that. But I’m used to that temperature because in Serbia, the weather is warmer than here. So, I think I will be able to acclimate to that weather and perform well.”
While Petrovic is still adjusting to his new home, the goalkeeper said that Boston reminds him of Europe and that he has even found some local markets with some of his favorite food.
“Boston, mostly like I said earlier, resembles European cities and there are quite a lot of people here from the Balkans,” he said. “And I have a friend who was my former coach and a former player for the New England Revolution, Ilija Stolica, who told me that and even gave some contact details of friends he has here so they can help me adjust as soon as possible to the lifestyle outside the field. But regarding the cultural shock also, I would have to say that when it comes to food, there is this market that I found here, a local Serbian market, where I can find all the necessities and all the food that I like to eat.”
With Turner departing for England soon, Revolution fans will be hoping that Petrovic feels at home between the sticks for New England and has a good outing against SKC.