Union Spotlight: Meet Shea Salinas

Posted on 27 November 2009 by Breton Bonnette

ASN Philly got the chance to sit down with new Union winger, Shea Salinas for a post-Thanksgiving introduction.

Welcome to Philadelphia!

Welcome to Philadelphia!

Talking with Shea, you would almost think he was a seasoned veteran, born from years of tough games, league and player research, grueling preseasons, and a plethora of ups and downs. His age (23), however, didn’t match his demeanor. He has a clear passion and worksmanship about what he does for a living and, when all is said and done, he just wants to get on that playing field. Looking up and down the expansion draft selection list with Shea, it was interesting to see an overlapping theme with the 10 players selected by Coach Nowak. Solid work ethic. “I’m a hard worker. Other guys on the list are the same as me and my motto has always been, ‘Go all out or don’t go out at all'”. It’s the same work ethic that put Shea in the starting line up for San Jose over the last half of the season as he went on to register 5 assists in just his second full season. Coming from Furman University, a school that produced USMNT midfielders Clint Dempsey and Ricardo Clark as well as Kansas City’s Jonathan Leathers, you can see that hard work ethic was sort of a prerequisite to playing well on the professional level.

That’s the thing, however…looking up and down the list to begin with and despite a great reputation in San Jose, there was an odd realization for Salinas. He was on it. And that itself hit home. “I was kind of shocked I wasn’t protected. I love San Jose, the fans, the teammates and to see that, it hurt coming from John Doyle and Frank Yallop”. Once on the list, however, “I knew it would come down to me or Bobby [Convey] and with the history between Coach Nowak and Bobby, I thought I would stay”. Regardless, Shea did his homework and prepared himself for the possibility of leaving San Jose. The more he thought about it with friends and family, the more he realized how great the opportunity to play in Philadelphia really was. “I read up on the new stadium, the organization, the crest and history and the more I thought about it, the more I thought I’d love to go to Philly. To start with a new team and create something. Our own traditions. I’m really looking forward to it and excited about it. I’ve heard great things about Coach Nowak”. In fact, Coach Nowak called Shea the night before the release of the Union’s picks and asked him one simple question, “Are you ready to work as part of the Union?”.

Shea has been no stranger to the “expansion” tag. His rookie year was San Jose’s inaugural season back in Major League Soccer after the relocation of the Quakes to Houston in 2005. The expansion feel is perfect for him, he says, “I was and now am joining a team whose players are all in the same boat. It’s not like Coach Nowak has favorites already and you have to adapt to be able to work your way into Coach’s system. Being a rookie with San Jose, I was in a much better situation. I was on an equal playing field with each of my teammates, rookie or not”. Off the field was much different of course. In two seasons, however, Shea firmly entrenched himself as a fan favorite, a presence in the community, and an exciting player on the field.

As for what type of player Salinas is, a couple attributes are raw like his final ball into the box and finishing. Overwhelmingly, however, he has all of the makings of a great MLS winger. “I am back training by myself every morning at 8AM and playing some indoor with my buddies. There was more time to take off but I couldn’t take it anymore”. A former track and cross country star in high school (4:28 miler and 9:51 two-miler for those curious) and with running as his passion, speed and fitness are his forte and a quality which will never leave his game. With that in mind, “my focus this off-season is to work on my final ball in the box and that final decision”.

Shea and the 10 (including new keeper acquisition Chris Seitz) will be flown in on December 6th to meet with Coach Nowak and the rest of the Union staff prior to introductory press conferences and physicals. Then the search for a house begins along with his fiance Julie before the next couple months become some of the busiest of his life. In January, he will be married. In February, pre-season starts in earnest. And March? Well we all know what happens then. One thing seems clear, so does Shea and he’ll be ready for it. “I have been everywhere and it sort of comes with the territory. Born in Texas, college in South Carolina, started my career in California, and now Philadelphia. I really hope I can stay longer here”.

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  1. Carolina Dynamo» Blog Archive » Former Dynamo Star Shea Salinas Selected By the Philadelphia Union in the MLS Expansion Draft Says:

    […] http://union.american-soccer-news.com/?p=438 […]

  2. Slow news day=gratuitous video of a Union player « C. Horridus Says:

    […] a good read up on Salinas, as usual just check out the Philly Union ASN page here. For those unfamiliar with Salinas, here’s a handy quote from the article: As for what type […]

  3. Union Spotlight: Meet Brian Perk | American Soccer News Says:

    […] you like this, check out Breton’s other interviews and Q&As with Shea Salinas, Amobi Okugo, and Nick Zimmerman blog comments powered by Disqus var disqus_url = […]

  4. Player Profile: Shea Salinas | American Soccer News Says:

    […] See our post-Expansion Draft interview with Shea. […]

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