Goats' Bowen embraces new role, responsibilities

Former Galaxy striker ready to play part in Chivas USA's midfield

Chivas USA's Tristan Bowen

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of Chivas USA Communications

CARSON, Calif. – Tristan Bowen is aware that 2011 has the potential to be a watershed year.

By joining Chivas USA, Bowen will now be given added responsibility that he did not have as a member of the LA Galaxy. In addition to joining a new club, Bowen will have a new position in Robin Fraser’s five-man midfield system. After spending time with the Galaxy at forward, Bowen has spent considerable time on the wing during the preseason.

Fraser’s system will likely have 2010 leading scorer Justin Braun playing in the single forward role. This has necessitated a move to the outside for Bowen, who can better utilize his speed on the flanks. Bowen admits that the new role requires a new mental focus.

“I think that there is a big difference in the level of maturity [for myself],” Bowen told MLSsoccer.com. “In the short time that I’ve been here, they’ve taught me a lot of things especially thinking about the mental aspect of the game and what to do when I don’t have the ball.”

Towards the tail end of last season, following the return of Edson Buddle from World Cup duty, Bowen was used sparingly on the flanks, but appeared to have some difficulty with what was a different role. Having been known as a player with raw athleticism and speed, Bowen is coming to terms with the fact that he will need to broaden his skill set in order to succeed on the flanks.

“The difference is that I need to be more of a complete player, it’s not only about the touches or the athleticism that you have,” said Bowen. “It’s more of a mental thing than a physical part of the game and at the same time it’s just part of being a processional because different coaches will like you in different areas of the field.”

During the preseason, Bowen has appeared comfortable with his new responsibilities. He’s taken a role in assisting players like Zarek Valentin, who may be of similar age, but do not share his nearly three years of professional experience.

Considered by many to be a potential breakout star in 2011, it will likely take the 20-year-old some time to learn the flank position. However, Bowen remains undeterred.

“It’s a challenge, but the coaches expect a lot out of me and have been pushing me to be more aggressive on the field,” said Bowen. “Just being more confident in my speed and my shot so that they can bring the best out of me and I really appreciate it.”

Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at adam.m.serrano@gmail.com and on Twitter: @adamserrano