Photo: Paul Rudderow
PSP’s Eli Pearlman-Storch talks to Philadelphia Union original Jack McInerney about his trade to the Montreal Impact.
PSP: So let me know how you found out about this move. What was going on when they told you?
Jack McInrney: I just came in Friday morning like every other day. I came dressed to travel that day to Chicago. I got there early because I had to do treatment for my ankle and stuff. And I got there and Hack was arriving at the same time and he just pulled me into his office and just said, “Look, this is hard for me to say, but we traded you to Montreal.” And that was pretty much how it went.
PSP: Had you been given you any forewarning that they were shopping you or that they were thinking about making a move?
JM: No. I had no warning or anything.
PSP: So you had come into this year ready to play out the season. Had there been any talk of renewing the contract, any talk about the contract at all?
JM: No, I was never approached about anything.
PSP: So you have this news now, you know you’re moving on. Have you talked to Frank Klopas about what your role is going to be with Montreal?
JM: No, I was on the phone with him and the technical director. It was just a quick phone call. They just said welcome to the team, we look forward to working with you, we’ve been trying to get you for a while now and we’ll talk more on Monday when you get in.
PSP: Are you excited to work with a guy like Di Vaio? He has a lot of the predatory instincts that you’re looking to cultivate in your own game.
JM: Yeah, that’s the one thing I’m looking forward to most. He’s the best pure goal scorer in the league and I think our games are pretty similar. He’s getting to the time when he’s up there in age, but he’s still doing well in the league so I think I can learn from that.
PSP: The Union has embraced its goalscorers differently. Guys like Sebastien Le Toux have been loved and taken to in a way that, for some reason, fans didn’t necessarily take to you as much. Do you have a feeling as to why that was?
JM: No, I don’t really know. I think, maybe, Sebastien was the first real person who scored real goals for the team. As the team had just come into Philadelphia, the fans just hooked onto that and from that point on it was all about Sebastien. I think every other goalscorer at every other club, if they’re not producing, the fans don’t catch onto you like that. I think that just becomes part of my position or role on the team. It’s not going to be the same. And I don’t think it’s going to be the same for anybody anywhere around the world, the way it happened so quickly and so easily for Sebastien.
PSP: There has been some talk about your facial expressions, your body language on the field. Fans and other media members have talked about it potentially rubbing your teammates wrong or rubbing the fans wrong. Was anything talked about behind the scenes concerning that topic?
JM: No, no one said anything about that. None of the players, none of the coaches, nothing. It never really rubbed anyone on the team the wrong way. Everyone knows how emotional I am in the games and in practice, so I think people that know me understand what it’s about.
PSP: How frustrating is it for you as a player who seems to pride himself on making good runs off the ball and putting himself in good spots when that service doesn’t come?
JM: It’s definitely frustrating, especially for me. Because I’m not going to be the forward that’s going to dribble four guys and really create my own chances. Philadelphia has never really had that true number ten playmaker, and for me I think, maybe, that’s what was frustrating the most because if I’m going to succeed that’s what I’m going to need. And, you know, it never really happened here.
PSP: How did you feel the chemistry was building with the new players? And do you feel that you were a good fit for what Philadelphia was trying to do?
JM: I think the chemistry was good. Everyone was getting along well on and off the field. There were a lot of new players in the starting eleven but – I think it takes time to jell – but it’s getting there. I think my fit into the team, obviously the coaches were happy with me at the time. I enjoyed playing in the formation we were in. It fit well for me, I think. It was just going to take some time to jell.
JM: Do you think that fans and members of the media were overly critical of you, forgetting that you’re a 21 year old player who still has a lot of development to do in his career?
JM: I mean, I do, a little bit. But at the end of the day, I wouldn’t be out there on the field if the coaches and my teammates didn’t believe in me and didn’t believe that I could handle that type of pressure. But at the same time, I think there was no true number ten and maybe here isn’t the best fit for my style of play.
PSP: You’ve had a chance to train with the national team. You’ve been with the Union for your whole professional career. Do you feel that in Philadelphia you got the kind of coaching and mentorship you needed to maximize your potential?
JM: Yeah, obviously Hack has coached with the national team, with young kids, and he’s been there with older guys too. I think it was a good mix and I think I learned everything I could from them and what they had to offer. I never really had that one forward that was my style of play that I could learn under. So I think going to Montreal will be good for me, to be able to have Di Vaio and new coaches and players to learn from.
PSP: Have you allowed yourself to set expectations for this year, knowing that you’re going to a team that already has one of the best forwards in the league, and that generally only plays with one striker?
JM: I’ve thought about that quite a bit. But, at the same time, I don’t think Montreal would have come in contact with the Union if they didn’t want me on the team too. I mean, they had Wenger before and I don’t know what the deal was with him and their team. I don’t think they would have reached out and made a change to get me if they didn’t have me in their plans.
PSP: Talk a little bit about Philadelphia. Are these relationships with guys in the locker room going to last?
JM: Yeah, I’m going to keep in touch with them. They’re actually coming back from Chicago today [Sunday] and I’m going hang out with most of them. You know, I’ve been here four years and I’ve known some of them longer and some of them shorter, but it’s definitely people that I’ll keep in contact with. Going to Montreal, it’s a new opportunity and a new team, and a new opportunity to make friends.
PSP: How do you feel you’re going to look back at Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Union as a club in your career?
JM: I’m going to look at it as the club that really gave me an opportunity to step on the field and give myself a chance to be known and to be able to play soccer every day for a living. The city and the fans are good, and it was fun playing here, but at the same time trades are made, and it’s part of the game.