Since joining the Chicago Fire as the No. 10 pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, Reading United AC alum Mo Adams has had a whirlwind preseason that continued with a start in his first professional match in a friendly against the University of South Florida.
Taking the field for the first 45 minutes, Adams competed in his first match in a Fire jersey alongside fellow first-round pick and Carolina Dynamo alum Jon Bakero. With Bakero up front alongside Nemanja Nikolic, Adams slotted in deep as a No. 6, playing closely with captain Dax McCarty in the midfield. In those first 45 minutes, the Fire would take a 1-0 lead, with both rookies slotting nicely into their respective roles.
“I feel great,” Adams told USLPDL.com at the conclusion of the match. “I’m really pleased with how I performed. The opportunity to come here and start in my first preseason game is excellent. I thought I showed well, so it was positive and I hope I can carry that on through the next few games.”
During his training in the run up to the match, Adams has gotten a chance to learn from two of the very best in Major League Soccer, as McCarty and Bastian Schweinsteiger both call the Fire midfield home. While normally up against the pair in training, Adams showed well in his chance to play alongside McCarty against the Bulls attack, stopping multiple pushes forward and distributing well from in front of the back four.
“It’s a joy,” Adams said. “Usually those two play together in the midfield and I have to come up against them in practice and training, which is tough, but it only makes you a better player to compete against the best. It’s awesome, every training session I’m looking forward to because I’m competing against guys who have played at the highest levels, there’s so much to learn from them.”
In addition to learning from two experienced veterans in the midfield, Adams has also enjoyed the opportunity to work with a top coach in MLS in Veljko Paunovic. After meeting him at the 2018 MLS Player Combine, Adams was left with a positive impression of his future coach, who’s trust in young players has been a boon to the rookie midfielder.
“Working with Coach Paunovic has been fabulous. When I met him at the Combine, I knew he was a good coach, a personable coach too, and he’ll pull you aside and help you. He’s also not afraid of playing young kids, which is a fantastic opportunity for me.”