By NICHOLAS MURRAY – firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
As evidenced in numerous performances over the past two seasons, set pieces are something that Aodhan Quinn has always taken seriously.
“Ever since I’ve been playing, when I was with my dad or in high school, I worked on free kicks and stuff, just because it’s a good skill to have,” the Louisville City FC midfielder said recently. “If it turns into a goal it helps your team out. I always practiced them. I always tried to get a lot of reps in, and if it goes in that’s great, because we’re one step closer to winning.
“It’s not something that just came along. It takes a lot of practice. It takes a lot of reps, but it’s fun. It’s enjoyable, and it helps the team, which is the most important thing.”
The 23-year-old’s prowess for delivering a dead ball was never in greater evidence than Louisville’s trip to face Tulsa last August. His bending left-footed shot that found the top-right corner of the Roughnecks’ net drew national attention, as Louisville continued its march to a top-two finish in the Eastern Conference in its inaugural season.
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For Quinn, the ride to the Eastern Conference Final in the 2015 USL Playoffs was a memorable one, as the city embraced the club more and more as the year went on.
“I mean, it was amazing,” Quinn said. “The support from the fans was incredible, obviously. The attendance kept getting bigger and bigger, and I think that helped us on the field too. I thought our play as the season went on got better and better, and it also helps when you have one of the best coaches in America right now.”
That coach, of course, is James O’Connor, whose leadership and attention to detail provided City with the focus it needed to have immediate success in the USL. O’Connor’s presence was a key factor in Quinn’s arrival in Louisville, as the former Orlando City SC player reunited with the former midfield standout.
“You have a guy that is so experienced playing, so he knows what it’s like for a player. He knows how to push players,” Quinn said. “He’s a great man-manager, but he’s also the most honest guy you’ll probably meet, so he’s there for you as a player or as a person. It’s great to play for him.”
Louisville’s squad has seen some turnover this offseason after the departure of standout players Matt Fondy and Bryan Burke, but the club appears to be well set for another strong season with former USL All-League players like George Davis IV and Chandler Hoffman coming into the squad to pick up the slack.
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“We have a lot of new faces, some really good guys too, so I think getting to play with them and getting to know them will be fun,” Quinn said.
With O’Connor remaining at the helm, though, high expectations have been set for Louisville’s second season.
“The same attitude and same intensity that James brings we brought last year, so hopefully we can just build off that season,” Quinn said. “It’ll be our second season, so we know what to expect. I think our fans will be even better than last year, which will be hard to beat, but I think it will be good.”With Quinn readying to deliver more arrows on goal, opposing defenses will need to be wary of conceding set pieces in their defensive third.