Sacramento Republic FC's inaugural year is one that soccer fans in Sacramento are not likely to ever forget. It was a year of success off the field brought about by fans and success on the field brought about by a team of veterans and rookies that took USL by storm. While many of the 2014 roster stayed on for this season, others looked for opportunities away from Sacramento.
One of those players that looked elsewhere was Dakota Collins, a rookie with the Republic in 2014. With Sacramento, Collins appeared in 21 matches across all competitions, starting 6. He also scored 3 goals and registered an assist.
ICS recently caught up with him to see how things had been going since he finished his first pro season with Sacramento.
ICS: Before we get into anything soccer related, we hear you recently got engaged. Congratulations!
Dakota Collins: Thank you I appreciate that!
ICS: Now on to the soccer related stuff. We'll start that off by talking about your time with Sacramento Republic FC. How was your experience with the Republic? And do you still keep up with how the team is doing?
DC: For me Sac was an amazing experience. It was my first year professional and with it being the Republic's first year it seemed like the perfect fit. Then being able to win the league in the first year, you can't ask for anything more than that. And of course the fan base was unbelievable, you could really feel the support of the community on and off the field. It was really special. I can't say enough good things about the fans. I still follow the team as much as I can. A lot of those guys on the team are my friends, so I'm always wishing them success. I'll try to watch games when I can, but with a nine hour time difference that is a bit tough.
ICS: Why did you choose to go play for your current team, NK Hašk?
DC: With Hašk I came to Europe to basically chase a dream and a connection I had helped me to get a trial here. They liked me and it seemed like a good fit for me. The team was good, the players were welcoming, and we had a great coach. There's not much more you can ask for beyond that.
ICS: How has your experience been different, both on and off the field, at your new club?
DC: There are quite a few differences. The biggest one I would say is off the field with the language barrier. Most people can speak at least some English, but it can still be challenging and my Croatian is pretty awful, so that doesn't help too much either. Other than that though the entire way of life is a bit slower here. People will sit and drink coffee at cafes for hours and people are always out just walking. It took some getting used to but it's nice to slow down a bit. Then there are definite differences in the style of play.
ICS: From what we understand, you won a championship with NK Hašk last year, making it 2 trophies in 2 seasons by our count. How has it felt to be on such successful teams?
DC: With how hard that the players on both teams worked to win, what we did isn't surprising to me. On both teams there has been a group of guys who were willing to give everything for the same goal, gelled together as a unit, and of course good coaches. So I think when you have that and of course a little luck it is inevitable that success will follow.