Gavin says he’s at 80 percent

After missing the final third of last season due to injury, the Chivas USA midfielder hopes he


Photo Credit: 
Chivas USA Communications

PASO ROBLES, Calif.- For midfielder Blair Gavin, 2010 was a year of contrasts. After playing 16 games (all starts) during his first year in Major League Soccer, he then missed the final third of the regular season due to a hamstring injury. Entering his second year with the Red-and-White, Gavin is no longer a rookie and feels he learned a lot from last season’s experience. He also hopes he’ll be at full speed by the end of the current nine-day training camp at Paso Robles.

“I’ll say I’m at 80 percent,” said Gavin after Monday’s training session. “I think there’s still a lot to go, especially with ball fitness. It’s different to run on straight lines than actually cutting, kicking the ball, jumping up for headers. Once I get that strength in my legs, then I’ll be back to a hundred, hopefully by the end of this camp, I’ll be there.” 

During the offseason, Gavin focused on leaving his hamstring injury behind by undergoing treatment and rehab with Athletes Performance in Arizona and then working at the IMG Academy in Florida with his former coach Tom Durkin.

“I did a lot of stuff [during the offseason], changing my mechanics when running, as well as getting stronger, lifting, I did some cardio. I was there for a month or so. I worked with top of the line guys,” said the 22-year-old Gavin, who suffered a hamstring injury in August and was not able to recover for the rest of the season.

“It was extremely hard to see the team play and not being able to help them. I always want to go on the field, but at the end of the day it’s a blessing because it kind of matured me as a person. It showed me what I have to do to maintain myself and keep myself on the field,” he added. “A lot of people have questioned me about maintaining my body and my injuries but I think I’m going to prove myself and show that injuries do happen. If I keep working hard and maintaining my body I think I can have a dynamic year.”

Blair never imagined that he’ll be in the same training camp with his former Akron teammate Zarek Valentin, but according to him, having his college teammate next to him as a professional will only help Chivas USA.

“[Valentin] is extremely talented. Everybody can see that, what he can do with the ball is amazing, especially coming out from the back, his composure. It’ll help us a lot giving us that style that everybody kind of wants. He’s a great defender as well. I’m excited that we got them. I’m familiar with him and his familiar with me so I think that’ll help the connection,” said Gavin. 

For Gavin, the Paso Robles camp will help the entire team get together from the get go and hopes that it’s something that will show once the season starts on March 19. 

As far as his shaggy new hairstyle, he said it’s something he’s trying at the moment.

“I’m seeing how this week goes. If it bothers me or gets on the way of things, it has to go.”