New beginnings for versatile midfielder
Fitting into a new team has become a prominent theme during Nathan Sturgis’ six-year MLS career. Last Thursday’s trade between Houston and Toronto meant Sturgis was on the move once again, going from TFC to the Dynamo for a 2014 conditional draft pick. While his last move – from the Seattle Sounders to Toronto – took him to a team in flux, this trade has a different feel and the versatile midfielder/defender is looking forward to helping his new team build on their recent success.
“I’m excited,” Sturgis told MLSsoccer.com last week. “Houston’s coming off a very good year and they’re opening a new stadium, so it looks like things are going well there. I’m excited to join the team.”
On a personal level, the move provides Sturgis with a chance to rebound from a tough 2011 season.
Toronto brought Sturgis to Canada after he established himself as a starter for head coach Sigi Schmid in Seattle, where he found success as a hard working central midfielder. At the time, Sturgis seemed destined to fill the same role in Toronto.
“I had a good year with Seattle and had high expectations for this past year, but things didn’t quite work out in Toronto,” said Sturgis, who appeared in just 14 games in 2011. “The team was going through a re-building process and now I’m looking forward to a fresh start and getting back to where I was when I left Seattle.”
With a rough season behind him, Sturgis is hoping to move on quickly and prove in Houston that he can duplicate his 2010 success on a team where he seems to be a good fit.
Sturgis’ exposure to Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear is limited to a Generation adidas tour that he went on with Kinnear at the helm in 2007. Outside of that limited experience, Sturgis only knows what he’s seen of the Dynamo from lining up against them.
“Playing against them, I know Houston’s a tough team because they work hard and battle,” Sturgis said. “From an outsider, that’s the mentality I see in the team – that you have to come in, battle and work hard. I’m an honest, hardworking player and I think that fits into this team very well. I feel I’m good on the ball, a good passer and a team player and that fits the system and mentality they have there.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.