Geoff Cameron has been a jack of all trades since being drafted by the Houston Dynamo in 2008, but it seems he has finally become the master of one.
The fourth-year pro has played midfield, forward and defense in his time with Dominic Kinnear's side, but coming off a sterling performance in the final quarter of the Dynamo season at center back, it seems Cameron has finally found his home.
Cameron provides the Dynamo with a weapon that few teams in Major League Soccer have: a center back with the ball skills and mentality of a midfielder.“Dom and I had a meeting at the end of the year and he told me he wants me to play center back and that’s my position,” Cameron told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Tuesday.
For the 6-foot-4 Cameron, the goal is to prevent and defend first and then ignite the attack with crisp passing like the player after whom he tries to pattern his game: Brazil’s Lúcio. To do that, Cameron looks to stay calm on the ball even in the toughest of situations.
“As a center mid, I hated when my center backs would just clear the ball out because you have to just go try and chase it down again,” Cameron said. “At center back, I try and play the ball. Yes, there’s time when you need to clear the ball out, but a majority of the time I’m trying to keep possession of it and keep the attack going.”
Cameron likes to joke about his heart still being in central midfield, and there will be times when he pushes forward into the attack.
“In my heart I know I’m good enough to be a center mid and Dom does, too,” Cameron said. “[Dom] told me if we’re down a goal or need a push late, he has no problem throwing me in the attacking center mid position. I think that’s a pretty cool way to use me as a weapon.”
The message is clear, however, after Cameron’s switch to the back line over the last 10 games of the regular season and the postseason helped the Dynamo win the Eastern Conference Championship.
“I think natural center back is my main position now,” Cameron said. “I think I can be a good center back and learn the game more and more there and hopefully get a shot at the national team. I think if I can keep learning and progressing I can be a really good center back.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.