Dillon Serna (above left) knows he has a real opportunity this season. He tasted first-team soccer in MLS at the end of 2013, and has been scratching off the days during offseason, so eager is he to launch himself into the new campaign.
“You know, last year I got my debut at the very end of the season,” he told ColoradoRapids.com. “It was a kind of a long offseason for me. Then I had some training in England (with Everton), which helped, and I came in against Houston to prove myself to the new coaching staff.”
Serna, aged 19, managed just 13 minutes of MLS action last season, in the 3-0 loss at the Vancouver Whitecaps on October 27 (the final outing of the regular season). He had been on the bench for a number of games, before the Homegrown Player from Brighton was finally handed his chance.
As brief as his time was against the Whitecaps, attacking midfielder Serna begins 2014 with renewed purpose.
“(Against Houston) I definitely noticed a difference,” he said. “This year, I think I’m more confident on the ball, but I think I can be really competing for a spot this year, whereas last year was more of a first year and I eased into things.”
Quietly spoken, Serna is without the swagger, but he is clearly sure of his surroundings, and after a solid display against the Dynamo in a preseason friendly on Sunday - in which he scored the Rapids' opening goal - admits he feels he belongs at this level.
“Last year it was kind of different,” Serna added. “You notice more if you’re not being looked at, or not being looked at the same as some of the other guys, but this year everyone is going to get a fair look, and that’s better for me and puts me in a better spot for this season.”
Serna signed as a Homegrown Player on January 14, 2013.