CARSON, Calif. – Slowly but surely, LA Galaxy first round draft pick Charlie Rugg is working his way back to the field and for the Boston native, it couldn’t happen fast enough.
The 19th overall selection in the first round of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft has been unable to participate in the club’s first two preseason games due to a lingering groin injury. Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena recently told reporters that Rugg was showing improvement and will likely be training “by the end of the week.” When asked, the rookie forward shared his coaches’ optimism.
“I’m feeling pretty close, I’m feeling better every day,” Rugg told reporters. “I’m definitely excited to get back out there though. “
During his senior year at Boston College, Rugg battled a pair of injuries after hyperextending his knee at the start of the year and then pulling his hamstring towards the end of season. Despite the injuries, Rugg tallied five goals and four assists during his senior season with the Golden Eagles.
After dealing with injuries for much of his final year at B.C., Rugg has learned how to persevere and avoid frustration despite dealing with a nagging injury.
“The best part about [those injuries] especially with what I’m going through now, I’ve learned patience and I’ve learned when to take time out,” said Rugg, who admitted that he was being safe rather than potentially aggravating his injury. “I’ve learned to be patient, but it is never easy.”
When Rugg does make his return to the field—Friday’s scrimmage against Real Salt Lake is likely to be too soon as he was not participating in full training on Wednesday—he’ll likely begin to transition from forward to an outside midfielder.
After racking up 28 goals and 18 assists with the Eagles as a forward, Rugg will join a fierce battle for minutes out on the flank with LA’s variety of options on the flank—both, experienced (Landon Donovan, Mike Magee, and Michael Stephens) and young (Gyasi Zardes, Hector Jimenez and Greg Cochrane).
Even though Rugg will need to adapt to a new position, he feels that he has the attributes to be successful out wide for LA.
“I am definitely comfortable with playing outside,” said Rugg. “Even as a center forward, I tend to drift outside so I am definitely comfortable playing there. I think that I might find that I may like it even better.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com.