Happy Sunday! Welcome to another installment of Sunday Spotlight where we feature the players and people behind Sacramento Republic FC.
For this installment, I caught up with Republic FC midfielder Hayden Partain. We discussed his game-winning goal last night against Portland Timbers 2, whether it has been frustrating to not get as much playing time as he would like, what he does when he’s not on the pitch, and with the State Fair upon us, his favorite “fair food.”
Without further ado, here is my conversation with Partain.
Congratulations on your second goal of the season. Can you walk me through it?
Someone played it out wide to Juan [Barahona], and he’s got a really good left foot...he can get a really good ball in the box, so I just made sure I got in the box. I think it went through a little bit of traffic..Vill [Villyan Bijev] went for it and it got through to me and I chested it. No one stepped to me so I just got as much on it as I could and it went into the back of the net.
I was grateful for that. That’s two goals now for me to get off the cross, which is not very normal me, but I’ll take it. That’s what the coaches have been working on with us...get numbers in the box and I am happy to go in there and do that.
Has it been frustrating to not get as much playing time as you would like?
I would say it’s frustrating, but it’s also a time to grow. You can try to point fingers at other people or [find] excuses of why you’re not on the field, but I just had to dig down inside and find a way to show the coach that there is a reason that I need to be out on the field and I finally did that. I need to continue to take advantage of my opportunities.
It’s a chance to grow. That’s when you encourage your teammates. It builds character. You can sink or swim and I chose to swim and work a little harder and I finally got my chance.
We have great guys on this team. That’s what coach always talks about. We only have a 20 man roster, which is pretty small for a normal team, but everyone is ready to play. It’s holding me accountable. There’s guys behind my back that are able to play right now as well, so I have to keep on pushing or I will lose my spot again.
The team has been up and down over the last six or seven matches. Do you feel like the best is still yet to come?
I do. There’s a lot of things we can work on. If you look at [tonight’s] game, we probably could have closed that out. We bent, but didn’t break and we found a way win. There’s a growing there and we learned a lot. But we also go three points while learning, and it’s better to do that than lose and say....here’s the lessons we learned. But we got something out of it and learned.
When you’re not on the pitch, how do you get away?
Honestly, in season...there’s not much time I can get away, but I’ll drink wine, spend time with my wife. It’s a lot of video, it’s a lot of other things to try and improve my game while I am here.
It’s a long season, and especially with not being in the lineup this season, I can’t tell you there has been a lot of time. But family comes in and you spend time with them. Sacramento is a great city and it’s always sunny, so there’s a lot to do...go down to midtown, ride your bike, go walk around...it’s beautiful. Those are some of things I try to do to take a rest and get a break.
I can’t let you leave without asking a State Fair question. If you could walk out there right now, what “fair food” would you seek out?
I will say, I don’t eat it in season because I have a bad addiction, [but] ice cream. I would go out there, whether it’s fried ice cream or whatever custard they have out there and hammer that. I might do that now if they don’t close it...[laughs].