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MLS Combine: Brief chat with Penn State’s Corey Hertzog

Posted on 10 January 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Credit: Mark Selders/Penn State Athletics

Penn State striker Corey Hertzog rebounded after a so-so day one at the Combine with two goals today on the second day. He helped jumpstart his squad to a near comeback from 3-0 down, eventually losing 3-2. Hertzog had made quite the impression, essentially wiping away day one from the books. Hertzog is used to finishing what chances he gets. This past season, the Reading, PA native led the NCAA in goals scored (20) and overall points registered (46). He flew under the radar early in the season but even when the defensive pressure was piled on as Penn State sought the College Cup, he continued to score. As he gears up for this Thursday’s draft, his mind is firmly on heading to Philadelphia. He has the resume to succeed there and it’s clear the Union want him, going as far as to try and sign him under the Homegrown player initiative.

ASN Philly got the chance to chat briefly with Corey on his expectations for the Combine, his future, and his past few years with Penn State.

ASN Note: This interview was conducted several days before Major League Soccer’s Combine.

You started the year relatively low key on the national scene – no preseason All-American nod or mention – yet you led the Big Ten in goals last season as a sophomore. Did that give you any extra motivation or incentive heading into this past season?

“Yes, I wouldn’t say it bothered me or made me mad or anything. But with teams not really knowing about me. It really helped me in the first couple of weeks with scoring and getting on the radar.”

You had a great year in 2009 but what do you credit your jump to the upper echelon of NCAA in 2010 to? What improvements were made?

“The number one reason was my confidence coming into this year. Also, me and my coach worked on finishing anything inside the box and having that killer instinct.”

It has been relatively apparent that the Union want you – how involved were you in the talks to bring you on as a homegrown player? How much were you hoping that would work out or were you looking forward to seeing where you end up in the Draft?

“Going to Philly is my number one team and I would love to go there. People have told me that they are fighting really hard for the homegrown player but unfortunately they couldn’t because they were such a new team.”

What are your expectations for the Combine? With a Generation Adidas contract in tow, you are virtually guaranteed a spot in the draft. Does that change your approach to the Combine at all?

“No, the only thing that will change is that I can’t wear my lucky NIKE shoes [laughs], but I wouldn’t say it’s going to change the way I play because it’s just a couple more soccer games to score some more goals this year.”

How do you feel the season ended up? Who were some big contributors to Penn State’s success this season?

“I think our season ended up just the way we wanted except for winning the Big Ten Championship but other than that, you couldn’t have asked for a better season with any team. Coach Warming really brought our team closer and fixed the little things that we needed to fix and that is why we had so much success this year.”

One can only imagine how hard your decision was to forgo your last year at Penn State. Can you shed a little light on what goes into the signing of a Generation Adidas contract? What kind of things did you and your family have to decide upon? And who do you consult to help with the decision?

“Generation Adidas is a guaranteed two year contract with MLS and is more then what most players make coming out of college their senior year. The decision was hard but my family and I couldn’t turn down the money and offer financially.”

Did you have any thought of going overseas to try and secure a contract or were your sights always set on Major League Soccer?

“I would love to go overseas and play but Major League Soccer has always been my dream and a great place to start at.”

Your former teammate Jason Yeisley – in fact, he pegged you as the next PSU soccer star in last year’s interview – enjoyed a decent year with FC Dallas, have you been in touch with him at all about Major League Soccer in general? The difference in training, pace, etc?

“Yes, me and Jason have been in contact, he helped me on my decision a little bit with telling me how different MLS is than college ball. He talked to me about the money and being moved to a place, and also the training, practices and games. He has been a huge help.”

Were you able to make it to PPL Park this season? Being a relatively local guy, how do you feel the Union’s inaugural season went?

“I haven’t seen PPL Park but I felt the team had a lot of talent and for a first year team coming out, they did pretty well. I am very excited to see how they do next year with the new guys they got. Maybe I’ll even be playing with them!”

How much of an influence did the Union have on your time at Reading United AC? Did the affiliation see a Union scout at every game? Or did everything go on as it did when it was the Reading Rage?

“I mean this summer I tried to make all the [Reading United AC] games that I could, but with doing summer classes three hours away it was difficult. But the games that I did go to and played in i didn’t really see a difference but I wouldn’t know. I don’t think so.”

Be your own scout. As a player, what are your strengths and weaknesses?

“My weakness that I really need to work on is my back to goal. I’m not the strongest or biggest forward out there and developing that part of the game would really help me in Major League Soccer. My strong points are my work ethic and finishing, killer instinct in the box. All I want to do is score goals.”

Quick Hits

Who is the best striker in the world right now?

“Not exactly a forward but [Lionel] Messi is my favorite player. Best striker, I would have to say [Wayne] Rooney.”

Favorite club team?

“Barcelona”

Favorite Major League Soccer team?

“Union”

Favorite PSU memory?

“The bus rides with the guys.”

Favorite movie?

“Friday Night Lights or The Blind Side”

So Yeisley predicted you would be PSU’s next star. Now it’s your turn. Who’s the next star player to come out of Penn State?

“I’m hoping Jordan Tyler, big guy in front of the net and is fast! Hopefully, he will bring home that Big Ten trophy next year.”

Best advice you’ve ever been given?

“Never Give Up”

3v3 game, pick your two ideal teammates…

“My man Matheus Braga [in this year’s Combine as well] and [Lionel] Messi [laughs].”

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  1. Tweets that mention MLS Combine: Brief chat with Penn State’s Corey Hertzog | American Soccer News -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by reedjohnmiller. reedjohnmiller said: RT @phillyunionASN: New story: MLS Combine: Brief chat with Penn State's Corey Hertzog http://union.american-soccer-news.com/?p=2993 […]

  2. The Philly Soccer Page » “Significant signings” TBA next week Says:

    […] Here’s what Hertzog has to say about being drafted by the Union. “Going to Philly is my number one team and I would love to go there. People have told me that they are fighting really hard for the homegrown player but unfortunately they couldn’t because they were such a new team.” […]

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