EXIT INTERVIEW: DANNY MWANGA, ON LEAVING PHILLY AND HEADING HOME
Until he gets set up in Portland, he said he'll have to take up a familiar living arrangement.
"I'll probably be in my old bedroom," Mwanga said. "It'll be strange to go back home, but it'll be good, too."
I caught up with Mwanga, regarding a variety of topics --- like leaving Philly, heading home, playing for Peter Nowak and much more.
Check it out:
On his thoughts on the trade:
"At this moment, I don't think my thoughts matter. (Philadelphia) was a place where I was drafted and I wish I could have been here longer and helped the team and emerge as the top player on the team. I think it is what it is. Now I have the opportunity to play where I grew up. I have to thank the Union front office, the fans and the entire organization for the opportunity. I was happy to be a part of this organization.”
On going back home:
"It's bittersweet. You get the chance to go home and play in front of your friends and family in a town you grew up in. Portland has one of the best fanbases in the league. You're also leaving the only place you've ever known professionally. It's never easy to say goodbye and get adjusted to somewhere else. It's a tough situation. It's a nature of the sport. You've just got to move on and embrace wherever you go.”
On joining Kris Boyd in the Timbers' attack:
"Absolutely. I think Portland has a lot of really talented players. Kris, we all know his resume. He's a talented player. Then there's guys like Darlington Nagbe, another young guy looking to make it work. It'll be good for me to go there. And when we get to know each other, put the work in, it'll be a benefit not just to me but to this team. I think we can do great things together.”
On where the wheels fell off with the Union, in terms of decreased playing time:
"That's a good question. I think that's probably a question I don't have the answer to. I don't know what to tell you. I wish I could. For me personally, it was tough trying to adapt. It takes time to get to know each other on and off the field, as well. Sometimes it takes more than three years. We were trying to get to know each other. Don't get me wrong, I think it was getting there slowly. I've just got to wish the rest of the guys luck. I hope they pull it together and do great things.”
On playing for Peter Nowak:
"Every coach is different, and Peter's a very strict guy and he likes things a certain way. Some guys can handle it, some guys cannot. Sometimes it's a good thing. Just depends how you take it. It was a little bit tough at times, not just about the coaching staff, but for the players as well just trying to get on the same page. Like I said, he's a great coach, gave me an opportunity and I'll never forget that.”
On conversation he had with Nowak in 2010, about choosing MLS over a career in Europe:
"Yes, the conversation did take place. And (Philadelphia) was a great stop for me, so far. Coming here, not only trying to showcase my talent and learning little bit by little bit abaout the professional level and the business side of it, I think Peter's the one who gave me the opportunity and that's one thing I'll always be thankful to him for. It's a learning experience and hopefully I'll try to move forward.”
On whether he's surprised by the Union's personnel moves of late:
"I'm not going to say I'm surprised by it, because I've lived in the States for a while and I watched MLS growing up . I know the business side of it. The coaches have to make decisions as best as they can. As a player, even if you don't agree with the decisions, you have to understand it's for the team's benefit. ... They're doing what they think is best for their team. And you just have to worry about your part. I was never really trying to sit there and question anything.”
On what's waiting for him at home:
"The first thing is being home, getting a home-cooked meal. We have good fans here and the Sons of Ben are some of the best fans in the league. Since Day 1 at the draft, they've always supported me. I'll miss that, but it's a new chapter in my life. I'm moving to Portland and I can't wait to meet the guys. I'm excited to be home with my family and meet some of Timbers Army. I can't wait.”