Getting to know Alan Winn
By his sophomore season at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, forward Alan Winn was a regular starter. The Garland, Texas, native went on to score 23 career goals and record 14 assists in four collegiate seasons with the Tar Heels.
Pro Soccer USA caught up with Winn on Monday at the 2018 MLS Player Combine in Orlando.
Question: What are your emotions here at the MLS combine?
Answer: It’s a cool experience. Very grateful to be here, meeting new guys. These are the top guys in the country, you know? So, very grateful to be here. Time of my life right now, uust hope to make a good impression.
Q: Where were you when you got the invite, and what were your initial reactions?
A: I just got back from college, actually, just got done with my final exams and got back home. I got the email. First thing, I told my parents right away. And it’s just, you know, a great feeling. You’ve worked all these years for this moment, but you’re not done. This is just the first step to a great career. Hopefully I can keep going with that.
Q: Apart from you, who does this moment mean the most to?
A: Definitely to my Solar Chelsea coaches. My college, too, but my Solar Chelsea coaches, Kevin Smith and Adrian Solca. Adrian Solca is actually here, so I talk to him from time to time. But he tries to be professional about it, which is really nice. It’s a special moment.
Q: What are some hobbies you enjoy outside of soccer?
A: I’m a great cook, let me tell ya. I love to cook; I love to build things with wood. Me and my dad and my brother like to build a lot of coolers, if you guys are interested in that. Those are some of my hobbies… Favorite dish? Tacos. We get this meat from the meat market called La Michoacana [in Texas], and it’s – oh my gosh – the best meat you ever can taste. I would tell you the recipe, but you gotta find out.
Q: At what point in your career did you know you had the potential for professional soccer?
A: I would say it was in my first couple of years with Solar. You know, I was a very fast kid. I wasn’t technically sound yet, but going through the Solar Chelsea youth program my touch [got] better. I really credit Kevin Smith and Adrian Solca for that. They taught me those, you know, assets to become a better soccer player and become – obviously you need athleticism, but to have that brain as well.
Q: How are you different from the other prospects here?
A: I wouldn’t say I’m different, just athletically or anything. Mentally, I feel like I can move the ball a little more. I see things that people don’t see and I’m very good at what I do and I know my strengths. I think I’m doing a very good job of that right now, but I just gotta keep going forward.
Q: Would you mind playing in the USL or NASL to start your professional career?
A: Obviously, I’m gunning for MLS ’cause it would be amazing. That’s the goal. You have those ambitions, those goals, but reality is you do get bumped down to USL. That’s just the reality of it, but it’s all a learning process, really. So if you do get bumped to USL, show them that you can go to MLS. If you go to MLS, prove that you should be there. It doesn’t matter where you are at any level. You can always learn and grow, and that’s what I’ve always lived by.
Q: What player(s) do you look up to?
A: I mean, obviously, Leo Messi’s a cool influence, right? Neymar. Those big guys. But I really like [Arsenal and Chile national team forward] Alexis Sánchez. The way he moves, the way he … moves off the ball, moves with the ball; I really can relate to a little bit. So, those are some of the players I like to watch.