Harbottle aims to make a name for himself in MLS
The following story was originally published in Spanish on FutbolMLS.com on Jan. 25, 2013.
ANTOFAGASTA, Chile - At a young age he intends to leave behind a cycle in order to establish himself with one club. Chilean Kevin Harbottle is heading to the Colorado Rapids, where he signed on loan for one season and enthusiastically expects to reach a personal affirmation that he's longed for.
Only 22-years-old, the playmaker will wear his sixth jersey in a little over four years of a career that began successfully in 2008 with Antofagasta, his hometown, and that has sent him to Argentina Juniors, O'Higgins, Union Española and Universidad Católica - one of the biggest clubs in his country with which he raised the 2011 Copa Chile.
In addition, Harbottle was on the U-20 national team, "La Rojita," which finished fourth at the Toulon Tournament in 2010 and debuted with the senior national team under the guidance of Marcelo Bielsa in a friendly against Trinidad & Tobago prior to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
"I lacked minutes on the field in order to establish myself, so it's difficult to demonstrate your level. Therefore I don't think I had the opportunities or the confidence that a coach can give you," Harbottle said regarding the past few years, which began with signs of a promising young Chilean and have yet to uncover his true potential.
Today the new Rapids addition is excited at the possibility of making a name for himself in MLS.
"I'm hoping to play and go far this season with Colorado. I do not want to be passing through the league, I want to be a great contributor and show my ability. I'm really excited to get to that football," said Harbottle, ambitious to succeed in the United States.
Although he is called "El Duende," (a small, mystical figure), the dynamic 5'5" attacking player is not responsible for the nickname.
"Sometimes I think the the TV commentators named me that," said Harbottle, with a shyness that is erased when he's asked about his feelings of going abroad again. "I'm going to Colorado to seek the opportunity that I maybe didn't have here."
He now awaits the completion of his work visa to join the team for preseason, and shares a interesting note.
"I knew that Sebastian (Miranda) was playing in MLS because when he left, I was playing at Union Espanola and when 'Milo' (Milovan Mirosevic) went, I was with Católica."
What a paradox, now that the Antofagasta-native is heading to MLS, and the two former Chilean Columbus Crew players returned to their country: Miranda joined Everton de Viña del Mar and Mirosevic is back with his club, Católica.
More curious is when Kevin mentions the English origin of his last name and his unfamiliarity with the language.
"What, if it's English? Not at all," he replies, laughing and adding in a promise. "I'll learn it over there."
Even so, he knows his coach will be Colombian Oscar Pareja and that brings comfort, both for communicating and for the game.
"It is interesting to go play in the U.S., I found it a very good opportunity and the coach was really interested in me. He told me that I have qualities to be able to play there."
While acknowledging that he knows little about MLS, the Chilean awaits arriving in the U.S. to learn the 'soccer' environment.
"We'll get to know it over there, to see how the League works. I've been told how it functions and how the soccer is, that they seek players who want to improve their level. That's why I want to go and integrate myself in the best manner and to fight for the championship," he said.
At the end of the talk, Harbottle only wanted to highlight the importance of his decision to go to the Rapids.
"It's a bet that I'm taking," he said. "I'm going to give it my best with the hope that that things go the way I want for my team. "