Geoff Cameron was supposed to take the Dynamo’s reins in 2010 from Stuart Holden, much as Holden did from Dwayne De Rosario in 2009. However, the 6-foot-3 midfielder did not count on a knee injury derailing his plans.
Transitioning from being a 2009 Best XI defender, Cameron was getting his midfield legs under him when he suffered a PCL injury on April 24 that sidelined him for three-and-a-half months last year. The injury disrupted his learning curve and left a hole in the middle of the Dynamo lineup.
Upon his return, Cameron put in some nice performances in the last two-and-a-half months of the season, scoring two goals in the club’s final 12 matches. Building upon the good late-season play, Cameron’s looking to stake his claim to the midfield position in 2011 and wants to show he is the impact player his club believes him to be.
“Coming off the knee injury last year, I put in a lot of work this offseason and came into preseason fit and confident, and I feel like I’ve played pretty well so far,” Cameron said.
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Cameron spent time this offseason training with English side Nottingham Forest and worked on his touch and passing. Playing against English competition, where the windows were smaller and the time on the ball shorter, helped Cameron accelerate his decision-making and improve his mechanics.
The training paid off, as he was often the best player for the Dynamo this preseason, floating around the field and making plays. Not only is the tall midfielder connecting passes, but he’s hitting the target from long range and forcing defenses to come out, opening up room for other attackers.
On top of his attacking ability, Cameron prides himself on being a two-way player, often tracking back and providing cover for his teammates. Because of his high work rate, Cameron relies on his midfield partner Lovel Palmer for support.
“We have a relationship where if one of us gets tired, we’ll spell the other and pick up the work,” Cameron said. “He gives me the freedom to attack and go forward, and I give him the freedom to make runs when he looks to get in the attack.”
That partnership will help Cameron be successful in the middle of the Dynamo attack, where the memories of MLS All-Stars De Rosario, Holden, and Ricardo Clark are still fresh in the minds of Dynamo fans. Aware of the expectations and standards those players set, Cameron is looking to leave his own mark.
“I’m a different player from [De Rosario and Holden], so I try and stay away from those comparisons,” Cameron said. “I think I’m a two-way player, and my main job is to stay consistent and impact the game in a positive way throughout the year.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. You can follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.