JOHN KRETLOW - Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Will Bruin spent July playing with the US National Team in their Gold Cup winning campaign. After two and a half strong seasons in MLS, Bruin's hard work finally paid off with an extended USMNT run.
The forward relished his time in Jürgen Klinsmann's squad and feels a growing confidence in his play that bodes well for the Dynamo going into the second half of the season.
The 23-year old was drafted by the Dynamo in 2011 and quickly integrated himself into the Houston family. Bruin scored five goals in his rookie season, and then exploded for 16 goals in his second year including the playoffs. His sophomore performance got the attention of American soccer fans and eventually caught the eyes of US Soccer.
Despite not playing much in the Gold Cup, the St. Louis native spent the month training with some of the best players the United States has to offer and savored the experience.
"Being able to train day in and day out with some of the highest quality players was a great experience for me and I'm never going to forget it," explained Bruin.
"It was good to get a little change of settings for a bit in the middle of the season. It's a long season and it's a grind especially in the heat," added the former Indiana Hoosier.
Bruin finds himself in the middle of a growing forward pool of players for the US. Many of those players have impressed this summer, such as Jozy Altidore and Chris Wondolowski, however the Dynamo attacker believes he made an impression.
"I think I held my own," said Bruin. "I mean, I don't expect to go in there and get a bunch of playing time right off the bat, but I think I left my mark on him (Jürgen Klinsmann) just day in and day out in training and we'll see if he calls me back in the future," added the Dynamo forward.
Also called up to the Gold Cup squad was Bruin's Dynamo teammate Corey Ashe. Both players have grown close in Houston, which made the July call-up for both men more special.
"That was cool to have a familiar face going into the whole thing with," explained Bruin. "It's just somebody that you can talk to about things and kind of get to see what he's thinking and being able to talk it out which is huge. I think it's helped our friendship."
Houston finds themselves in the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot, however they trail first place New York by just five points. The Dynamo also hold two games in hand to the Red Bulls, making their position even stronger.
After a tough June, the Orange have picked up their play, and not coincidentally, Bruin has been a big part of it. The Dynamo attacker scored in Houston's 3-1 win over Columbus and is feeling a new found confidence.
"It's the life of a forward. Confidence is huge. Whenever you score you think you're going to get 20 more either that game or the next game," explained Bruin. "Getting back on the score sheet was huge for my confidence. It's a weight off of my shoulders. I just play more free."
Bruin and Houston look to keep their strong run of play going as they arrive on a tough second half of the season that includes a playoff battle and CONCACAF Champions League play.