sits down with 2008 MLS Rookie of the Year Sean Franklin

September 11, 2010
by Justin had the opportunity to sit down with Los Angeles Galaxy Defender Sean Franklin, and what we learned might surprise you. For those of you who know Sean, you can contest that he is the definition of what a professional should be. He is humble, hard working, of high character, and oh yeah really good. He has been patrolling the back line since he entered the league and has gained praise from his coaches and critics. Heading into the 2008 MLS Superdraft he was heralded as the most MLS ready prospect in the draft and he hasn’t disappointed since that day having earned the honor of being name 2008 MLS Rookie of the Year and being named as the Los Angeles Galaxy Defensemen of the Year. Unfortunately his sophomore campaigned was injury ridden, although he was able to make his first MLS Cup appearance to finish up the season.

After a tumultuous injury plagued season in 2009, he has come back stronger then ever and with something to prove. Now back to his more natural position at Right Back he has helped lead the Galaxy to being the top defensive team in the league. Yet disappointed in not being selected to the All-Star team, but not discouraged, he still has his eye on the prize and that’s a return to the MLS Cup.

Sean has not only had success thus far in his young professional career but he also has been fortunate enough to have played his entire career in the Greater Los Angeles Area. Sean was born in Panorama City, Calif., and then moved to Palmdale where he went on to be a three-time letter winner at Highland High School in Palmdale. He then went on to play three years at Cal State Northridge.  And during that time he also played for the USL PDL team the San Fernando Valley Quakes where you could find Franklin out flanking his opponents on the right side and causing havoc in the opponents’ backline.

Thus far, Sean Franklin has made a quick rise to stardom as he continues to rack up the accolades:

  • 2009 MLS Cup Appearance (Professional)
  • 2008 Gatorade MLS Rookie of the Year and the Galaxy’s Defender of the Year (Professional)
  • 2007 Franklin played on the United States Under-23 Men’s National Team which had a two-match tour in Japan in February (National Team)
  • 2007 Premier Development League All-League Team (Amateur)
  • 2006 Named First Team All-Big West and Second Team All-Far West Region. (College)
  • 2005 Named First-Team All-Big West and Third-Team All-Far West Region. (College)
  • 2004 Named Second Team All-Big West and was named to the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team during the spring. (College & National Team)
  • 2003 Named Golden League Most Valuable Player as a senior and name First Team All-Area. (High School)

So we sat down with Franklin to help you the student athlete to see what makes him tick. Hopefully from his responses you can find the answers you need in order to reach your athletic potential and maximize your abilities.

When did you first start playing soccer? When did you first play club soccer?

I didn’t starting playing soccer until I was ten years old and of course it was an AYSO team. I then went on to club soccer at age 12.

When did colleges first start contacting you? And how did you first start getting noticed? High School games, club games, tournament?

I might have been noticed at College Showcase down in San Diego my Junior and Senior years. I received a couple of letters from a few colleges but that was about it.

How many solid scholarship offers did you get?

I didn’t receive any full scholarship offers.

Was there anything you didn’t like about the recruiting process? Is there anything you feel that can be approved upon?

Not really, in large part because I wasn’t sure I was going to play college ball because I didn’t feel I was good enough. I can say though, for colleges that do show interest it is important to stay in contact with them.

What drew you to CSUN?

My club coach was an assistant at the time and the head coach, Terry Davila, had come to a couple of my games. The CSUN team also scrimmaged my club team so I became familiar with the players. Given how close it was to home and my club coach was on the coaching staff there was a sense of familiarity and made the decision pretty easy.

Any advice you can give to student-athletes to help them in making their college selections? Or better yet how do you recommend they approached the college recruiting process?

I guess the biggest piece of advice I can give, which I learned from personal experience, is not to be discouraged if you don’t hear anything from anybody. Keep in mind not every college that you might want to go to is going to contact you. At the end of the day if you are a good player then you’re a good player and you’ll eventually find a school to play for.

Excluding your national team call-up, what was your biggest moment in college? Your defining moment?

Has to be our home playoff game against UCSB in which we beat them 3-2. It is our biggest rivalry and the atmosphere is amazing! That has to be my greatest moment!

Looking back on your soccer career up until the MLS superdraft is there anything you would change?

Training, Training Training. When I first started college I never considered myself a good enough player to go on to the next stage and you combine that with concentrating on school work I felt like I took a lot of days off. I should have done extra work. Although I did give 100%, I could have done a lot more on and off the field to improve my game and I didn’t. It comes down to being about the next person, and striving to be better than them. It’s not just about what you can do on the field to improve but also what you can do off the field in your preparation that can make all the difference.

Going into the draft you were considered the most MLS ready prospect, having said that after your rookie year you were named the 2008 MLS Rookie of the year. Obviously, you held up to the hype. What do you contribute your success to?

Everything came so fast, first the U-20 call up my sophomore year, then the U-23’s. By the time it was my senior year I was entering the draft. And it was my senior year when I realized that the dream can become a reality and it was time to put the work in. My focus was to do what ever I could do to be seen. Terry really pushed me and reinforced the fact that this was real. From there my focus turned to doing every thing possible to put myself in the best position prior to the draft.

How did your gamed day preparation and in season training differ from your days at CSUN to your days now with the Galaxy? Any surprises?

The biggest change or what I call an advantage is that I graduated and got my degree. I don’t find myself conflicting between school and athletics. I do not have to balance between the academics and the athletics. This leaves me with more time to prepare and train

What have you found to be the difference between a college player and a professional player, and don’t say a pay check?

(LOL, as he chuckles) Skill has to be the biggest difference between the two and not because of what you think. In the pros everybody expects you to be good, in college that is not the case. You are held to higher standards by everybody so if you make a mistake, “my bad” doesn’t cut it. The other thing is the rules. For example, in college you have the unlimited subs rule, while in the pros you get 3, that’s it. You have to learn to play a totally different game. Obviously there was an adjustment period there as well.

In 2007 you broke your arm and missed a large portion of the college season, and then in 2009 you tore your hamstring and missed a large portion of the MLS season.  And even this year you had a minor ankle sprain. How did you approach both injuries and what were the major challenges you face? How did they make you a better player?

Well in 2007 I knew I had to do what ever it takes to get back. I was pedal to the metal because at that moment I knew that my future in the MLS could be a reality. So I did everything I could. In doing so I knew after that that I could rebound from almost anything. But in 2009 that had to be my lowest point in my career and I was so worried that when I came back that I would be injury prone and I didn’t want to get that stigma of always being injured. But to my surprise my first game back I played a full 90 minutes and after that I knew that what ever stood in my way I could overcome. In that moment I knew what I was capable of. And I also learned that there is so much that I can do off the field to prepare for each and every game that can make you better.

Having played with Landon Donovan and David Beckham, what have you noticed they do for preparation prior to a match that stands out?

Landon and David both are pretty similar in that, they are pretty quiet and pretty much stay to themselves. They are both “very serious” as we all are before a game. They never bring any baggage to the field and are always “all business”. They work extremely hard prior to every game in order to properly prepare.

What do you do or how do you prepare in the offseason?

This past off season I took the first couple of weeks off. Then I began running and changing my eating habits by eating healthier. I also did PT twice a week. Between that and the strengthening of my legs in my “post injury” era I felt as fit and strong as I have ever felt.

What inspires you most? Where would you like to see yourself in five years?

What inspires me most is that I get to go to a place not confined to one area, where I get to play the game I love with coaches, players and friends. Where fans come to pay to see me play and where my jersey. It really hit me last year when we went to the MLS Cup, how fortunate I really am. And it is that very essence that drives me to be the best that I can everyday.

Where would I like to see myself in five years, that’s easy, THE WORLD CUP. I hope to be injury free and on the World Cup team as they head to Brazil in 2014. And perhaps maybe trials or playing overseas. And definitely making the MLS All-Star team. It eats at me that I did not make the team, but that only tells me that I need to be better and work harder. So if that’s what I have to do then that’s what I will do.

After watching the world cup games, what are your thoughts on introducing technology into the game vs the five-ref idea?

The five ref rule is terrible, four is enough. If technology can improve the game then it should be considered.

We did a piece on a new technology that was introduced with regards to having GPS in a soccer ball. The idea is that when the ball crosses goal lines, touchlines, end lines etc a light goes off. Do you feel there is any kind of room for such technology in the game today?

Like I said if it can improve the game then its worth taking a look at.

What boot are you sporting these days?

Lately I have been sporting the Lime Green Nike Vapors and the CTR’s

WOW! I did not see that coming, not one full scholarship and yet four years later MLS Rookie of the Year. You don’t see that everyday! Hopefully you the high school student athlete read this and understand that through hard work and determination you can accomplish anything. You will only go as far as your effort. Hopefully this has helped all of you and if there is anything you would like to know for the next time please let us know and we will get you the answers. Otherwise until next time…………..

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