Defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe has a realistic take on his preseason training with the Chicago Fire. The Fire's second-round choice in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft, the 6-foot-3 center back out of Connecticut is taking his early professional days in stride and filtering information and tactics from the likes of veteran Fire defender C.J. Brown and goalkeeper Jon Busch.
"Everyone would want to play immediately, and I'm doing something that I've [dreamed] about since I was young," Watson-Siriboe said. "I'm learning every day and I hope to make an impact. Hopefully I can be a starter some day. I'm just gathering it all in and doing my best to see if I can get an opportunity."
Many projection boards pegged Watson-Siriboe as the second-best center back in the draft and a potential pick for the Fire in the first round. He slipped to the second round where the Fire gladly chose him with the 26th overall pick.
Just within the first couple days of training, Busch already was sharing his high impressions of Watson-Siriboe's play and potential.
"Working with Mr. Busch has helped me see the game better day in and day out," Watson-Siriboe said. "He's been in the league for a while and I'm learning everything from him, C.J. Brown and all of the veteran players. They have helped with how you play against players that might be stronger or might be quicker, and how to see the whole field from the back."
Watson-Siriboe is coming off a 2009 collegiate season that included co-Big East Conference Defender of the Year honors alongside Louisville's Phil Edginton. UConn's defense as a whole posted 13 shutouts and allowed on average only one goal for every two games.
"Coach [Ray] Reid and all of the coaches stressed so much about team defense," Watson-Siriboe said. "I've played with Julius James, who's out at D.C. United. I played with Robert Brickley who's still at Connecticut. The team as a whole was dedicated to making sure we focused on team defense. Defense wins championships. It's very true."
Now he is marking up against trialist Collins John and Fire forwards Brian McBride and Patrick Nyarko.
"It's been fun playing against them," Watson-Siriboe said. "Patrick Nyarko is a quick, pacey player, very dynamic and hard to mark. Collins John is quick, strong and a good finisher with a good one-two touch. Brian McBride's touch on the ball and his moves -- you can see the European experience when you're trying to mark him."
The game obviously is faster and requires more stamina in MLS, and Watson-Siriboe thinks UConn provided a good foundation to make the transition.
"I'm coming from a very good strength and conditioning program at Connecticut," Watson-Siriboe said. "It helped give me a good base to make the jump to the pros, where the conditioning is tough and you have the have the right mind-set."