Confidence continues to build for rookie Gavin

Youngster now a key cog in Chivas USA midfield

CARSON, Calif. – A little more than six months ago, Chivas USA rookie Blair Gavin showed up to his first professional preseason camp as a nervous first-timer just hoping to see a few minutes in the 2010 season.

Just a half a year later, the University of Akron alum has become a vital piece of the Red-and-White system. He has earned a place in the starting lineup in 13 of the Goats’ 14 games so far, and has notched two goals and an assist for his efforts.

“I think the guys are getting more confident with me,” Gavin said after Chivas USA’s 1-1 draw with Philadelphia last weekend. “I’m trying to do everything I can to try and help this team win. The guys around me have been playing their hearts out and I’m going to do the same for them.”

Gavin’s professional career started out a bit wobbly, and he admits he was a bit overwhelmed at first. But as the season has worn on, he finally has started to display the talents that made him the 10th overall pick in the 2010 MLS Superdraft.

“From the first day here, and that shock to starting to put my name on games, I’ve grown a lot,” Gavin said. “It’s been a long season for me, especially coming from college, but I love the game and I enjoy every second of it.”

The most difficult step for Gavin was adapting to the quick, physical style of play in MLS.

“MLS is a very physical game,” he said. “You have to get used to that defending. Every time I step on the field, I’m trying to prove myself and show my team that I’m here for them, and I’m going to do everything I can to help them.”

Gavin has become a staple in the middle of the Chivas USA midfield, serving as a source of offensive creativity as well as a defensive foil. He spent much of the early part of the season learning the position from team captain Sacha Kljestan.

“I like the middle a lot, but I feel that one of my best qualities is that I’m very versatile,” Gavin said. “If you put me in a position and you ask me to do something, I’m going to do everything I can. I have a lot of great veteran leadership here and they’ve been helping me out along the way.”

At just 21, Gavin still has plenty of professional soccer ahead of him. But his talent and touch have already garnered him consideration for the 2010 MLS Rookie of the Year award or a potential spot in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

“It’s absolutely my dream,” Gavin said. “I’ve grown up aspiring to be that player for the country. I’m far from that, I need to learn a lot of stuff. But if I progressively improve, maybe I’ll get a shot. And when I get that shot, I’ll make the most of it.”