MICHAEL ADUBATO - Friday, November 19, 2010
Floridian Nate Weiss has just wrapped up his first professional season in the Latvian Virsliga with FK Jelgava, the team that gained promotion to the top division at the end of last season.
For Weiss, his year in Latvia consisted of a first half high, followed by a second half low.
"I think that for me the season could be separated into two parts," the Stetson alumni told YA.
"The first half of the season was pretty much like a dream. I was playing every single game and contributing a lot to the team. We won the Latvian Cup and got to compete in the Europa League against FK Molde."
But things took a bad turn for Weiss after his solid defensive display early in the season.
"Before the second leg with Molde, I had a tough ankle injury and couldn't play for about a month, and then had to rehab for about another month."
As the season progressed, the team had a few bad results and found themselves fighting off relegation, yet at the same time also fighting for a top spot to qualify in the Baltic League in the tightly competitive league.
"I came back into the team for the last five or six games and was back to 100% fitness," he noted. "I think it was perfect timing with the latter part of the season turning out to be the most important for us."
Weiss was especially glad to get a full season under his belt where only injury kept him out of the first team, after having spent time in Ireland where his playing time was limited.
"Looking back now that the season is over and I am 100% healthy, I can honestly say it was a positive step in the right direction," he assessed. "I played 20 games in all competitions and even scored four goals as a defender, which I think isn't so bad. I think this season's experience has made me grow as a player and raised my playing level significantly."
Having tasted success with Jelgava, the 23-year-old is hoping for bigger and better things in the future as he hopes to move on to another country where he would have a better chance at being recognized by the USSF.
"In terms of next season, I think that I will leave Latvia and try to find a club in a country where I will have a better chance to grab the attention of Bob Bradley," Weiss said of his international ambitions.
"I know that right now I am not even on the national team radar, but if I can use Latvia as a spring-broad and get to a good EU (European Union) team, I think that anything is possible," he concluded. "I think my whole career thus far has been sort of a defying the odds kind of deal, so getting called to the national team is something that I am now going to push for and look towards in the next three years."
Weiss and his FK Jelgava team mates can consider the season a successful one as they finished in sixth place while also winning the Latvian Cup.