Preseason in any sport can be a grind. But for Houston Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell, the club’s weeklong trip to Orlando, Fla., for the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic is a welcome chance to go home.
The 27-year-old center back was born in Austin, Texas, but moved to Tampa, Fla., at a young age. Boswell made a name for himself as a youth player in nearby Clearwater and went on to be an all-conference performer at Florida International University in Miami.
With the Dynamo parked in Mickey Mouse’s backyard, less than 100 miles from where Boswell grew up, the defender is looking forward to playing in front of his family and giving them a chance to see him without having to travel far. Boswell’s family routinely makes trips from their Florida home to Houston and other MLS cities during the season to watch him play. With the closest MLS locale being Boswell’s former club D.C. United – more than 900 miles away from Tampa – seeing the defender involves some long travel plans.
“My family loves to travel, but it’s nice for them when we play a little closer, so they take full advantage,” he said earlier this week before he boarded the plane bound for the Sunshine State. “It’s always nice in preseason to go somewhere that is sunny and fun, but for me, it’s an added advantage to go see my family.”
While playing at home in front of family and friends is a treat, Boswell and the Dynamo have work to do while in Florida. The club has started preseason in impressive fashion, undefeated in seven matches, and the Disney Classic offers the club the opportunity for more preseason games against MLS competition. Even though wins and losses mean little at this time of year, it’s important for club to prepare and play well in a competitive environment.
“It’s still preseason, but it’s a tournament, and any time there’s a trophy involved or a competition, there’s a little added incentive,” Boswell said. “You don’t place a whole lot of emphasis on them, but there is some added incentive that we are playing some pretty good teams.”
The Dynamo have the chance to play three MLS clubs while in Orlando, something Boswell and the Dynamo have looked forward to all preseason. The club tied the Seattle Sounders 2-2 in a scrimmage on Tuesday and will face Toronto FC on Thursday at 7 p.m. CT in the first round of the Disney Classic. The winner of Thursday's match will play the winner of FC Dallas and Orlando City FC on Saturday at 7 p.m. CT, with the consolation match beforehand at 5 p.m. CT. Thursday's games can be seen on MLSSoccer.com, and all tournament matches can be seen on on ESPN3.com
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.