Watching Warren Creavalle’s game, it’s hard not to take notice of his fast feet. The quick and versatile second-year player has made a name for himself with his ability to cover ground and turn pressure into turnovers.
That ability and a quick progression in a short year-and-a-half stint has translated into time on the field, along with a unique nickname.
“They call him ‘The Octopus,’” said Andrew Driver. “He is good on the ball because he’s got the fast feet. The first game I played here my dad pointed to him and said ‘He’s a really good player.’ I think you can see he’s got a bit of confidence now. He’s been doing well and is a good guy. He’s the kind of guy you want to do well.”
Since being drafted by the Houston Dynamo in the second round of the 2012 MLS Super Draft, Creavalle’s become a versatile and useful weapon in head coach Dominic Kinnear’s arsenal. That versatility and an extraordinary work ethic got him on the field as a rookie. As a sophomore, however, it’s the skill that Driver spoke of that’s taken over.
Creavalle’s touch and passing have improved and he’s punctuated the first half of his second season with three goals, which has him tied for second on the Dynamo with US international Brad Davis. He's done his damage as both a starter and substitute as his overall time on the field increases.
“It’s a consistency thing,” Creavalle said. “You get into the groove of things and it’s a little more regularity and a little more confidence and it makes you more comfortable.”
Helping his cause is his ability to play basically anywhere in midfield or defense. He's started at both fullback spots along with starting at both right and central midfielder. At every position Creavalle’s adapted and put in the effort that has become routine.
While the case can be made that a permanent position would help his growth, at this time, Creavalle is just happy to be on the field.
“I’ve seen a lot of players be successful with being able to play different positions,” said Ricardo Clark. “If you look at other young players that have come through, Geoff Cameron showed the same qualities. It’s not that he’s the next Geoff Cameron, but it’s always a plus when a player’s able to be versatile and bring the same quality at every position he’s in.”
Creavalle’s growth has him looking like one of the young building blocks for Houston. As he progresses, he’ll continue to make Kinnear’s choices difficult and make the case that “The Octopus” needs to be on the field.
“He’s a valuable player to the squad,” Kinnear said. “You try and put a team on the field that you think can win a game and if you think he’s a part of that you definitely involve him. He’s worked his way into the team.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.