It can be really difficult to play soccer when your family is over 7,000 miles away. That is what recent New England Revolution acquisition Latif Blessing has had to deal with for over five years.
“I’m so happy to be here,” Blessing stated in his first press conference with New England media. “It’s my dream to move forward and it was the best thing for New England to call me to come and be with their family. So, I’m so happy to be here.”
While LAFC were crowned MLS Cup champions in 2022, Blessing played the least minutes of his career and watched his role with LA significantly diminish. In June of 2022, he voiced his frustration with a simple Instagram post.
But Blessing wasn’t just a player upset over a lack of playing time. He was a human being just like you and I that missed his family. The 26-year-old told media on Wednesday that for the last five years, he has only been able to see his family once a year and talked about how difficult that has been for him.
“I see them once every year,” he said. “I want to see them around me so I can be happy and play. I don’t see them until maybe after the season, I go home and maybe I see them for a couple of months. I don’t want that. I want to see them every day. I have a little baby daughter, so I want to see my daughter around me and I think this is the right time. [The club] told me they’re going to help bring my family here, so I’m happy to be here.”
Now with New England, Blessing will need to prove he deserves a spot in the starting XI. He will be competing with Dylan Borrero, Nacho Gil, Damian Rivera, and Joshua Bolma for playing time. While recognizing the hard work ahead, Blessing reiterated his happiness where he is wanted.
“Every coach has a style they like to play,” the 26-year-old said of his lack of playing time in LA. “I was complaining about my playing time [with LAFC], but every coach has his methods of using you. I’m happy to be here. I think the coaches want me to be here. I’m happy. This is my life, so I have to work hard for this team to have a great season.”
Bruce Arena praised Blessing when asked about the acquisition.
“I’ve watched [Latif Blessing] for a number of years in the league, and he’s a talented midfield player, offers us some speed in the midfield that I think we need, very competitive player, good going forward and just a good team player,” the head coach and sporting director said.
With Blessing’s optimism over the pending arrival of his family and his happiness over being wanted by Arena, Blessing might be poised for a return to form in 2023.