If you are searching for a player to speak on behalf of the MLS Reserve League, then give Cam Weaver a call.
The 6-foot-4 Houston Dynamo striker finished the Reserve League last week with 11 goals and has managed to parlay that success, along with his customary work ethic, into a late season role as a go-to sub for head coach Dominic Kinnear in the last month. The increased time on the pitch is a welcome turnaround in a 2012 season that was dominated by frustration in its early stages.
“It’s frustrating when you’re not playing, that’s just the nature of things,” Weaver said. "But that’s been my attitude ever since I’ve been a professional, to never put your head down and stop working."
“I’ve done that the whole year, even when I’m not playing. And now that I’m getting some opportunities, some minutes, playing well and scoring goals, I think that hard work’s paying off. It’s showing on the field for sure.”
WATCH: Weaver nets hat trick vs. RSL
While he has not yet tallied a goal, the forward has provided solid hold-up play, connected with other players, gotten himself into good positions and even developed an uncanny, if unwanted, knack for hitting the post.
Weaver’s recent performances come as no surprise to his teammates, or anyone who regularly attends Dynamo training sessions. The striker is routinely among the top finishers in training and is a “max-effort” type of player.
Despite his work on the training pitch, the biggest hurdle to Weaver building a case for inclusion in matches was still a lack of game minutes.
“If you’re not playing games, you’re not staying sharp,” the striker said. “The more games you play, the sharper you feel. When you’re out there playing well, that’s what gives you the confidence.”
That’s where reserve and tournament play came in.
Weaver terrorized the Reserve League this season, leading the Dynamo in scoring – including five goals in two games last week – and adding another in CONCACAF Champions League play. That production, added to his work in training, has keyed his move up the depth chart.
“He’s been good and his attitude has been excellent,” Kinnear said. “Him and I have had more than a few conversations, [they’ve] always been good ones and his attitude’s one thing I’ve never questioned. He’s always been coming out and working hard, and I think his goalscoring and his added time in the first team shows well and that we have confidence in him.”
That confidence has paid off in the last month as Weaver is pushing to show that he can help the Dynamo down the stretch.
“I can’t say enough about the attitude Cam’s had this year,” teammate Brad Davis said. “[Cam’s] been on fire as of late so we try to get him the ball, because he’s probably going to find the back of the net. Whenever he steps on the field the guys have confidence that he’s going to get a few opportunities.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.