To be honest, having the opportunity before college to play with Busch made the transition from club soccer to the collegiate game much smoother. Driving to STL to train and play weekly gave me the best opportunity to be successful. Then, going to SLU, I was up against some of the best players in the country on a daily basis. Being in a top program like SLU where the competition for spots is fierce breeds a winning culture and prepared us for making the leap to the pros!
It is well known around the league about the tradition and history of St. Louis soccer and the list of great players that go along with that. It is definitely one of the hotbeds for soccer in the United States.
As a professional, the most special moments are celebrating championships with your teammates that you have worked so hard for all year/season. For me, winning the Lamar Hunt Open Cup in 2004 was a huge accomplishment but was one that I took for granted as it was only my second season professionally. Therefore, last year (2015) when we won the MLS Cup Championship, it was a moment I will never forget. And to top it off, I had my wife and two daughters on the field to celebrate with me!
My favorite memory would definitely be winning the U-20 National Championship.
My main advice would be to try and be the best version of yourself everyday; whether that is in training or in a game. You cannot just turn it on when it is game day, you must put the same work in at all times, and if you do, you will see the benefits come game-time. Also, take care of yourself on and off the field so that you are always ready when your opportunity arises.
MLS in particular has changed massively. When I was a rookie there were questions about whether or not the league would survive and now it is a matter of how big the sport can get in this country and MLS is leading that charge.
Never anything too crazy on me that I can remember, but we pulled off a great April Fools’ Day prank in KC on one of our teammates. It was a prank where he thought he was going to be in a magazine and he did a fake photoshoot that we captured on video. It is a must see on Youtube under “April Fools’ Day with Michael Harrington.”
Make sure you thank your parents for all the time and money that they have committed so that you could play the sport you love! I wish you the best in the future and hope to be watching you all on TV someday soon!