In this new monthly series, 'Blackwood Blogs', forward Tyler Blackwood will be putting his thoughts to paper on a variety of topics throughout the season.
It’s the start of a new season, and although it's the club’s sixth in the USL Championship, I feel a buzz around the city as if it was the first. I left Sacramento for one year and the work that's been done to improve and upgrade the club in that time has been astonishing, not only in the quality of people who have been brought in, but the work everyone at the club is doing to make the Republic a staple in this community.
What also struck me upon my return was the reach the club has made. We already have the best fans in the league, but It seems as though more and more people in the local area have not only learnt about but embraced the team, which is great to see.
I returned to Sacramento this year after playing in Kansas City, and although I learnt a lot during my time in the Midwest, when I got the call to come home I jumped at the opportunity. During my first stint at the club, I was welcomed with open arms and received so much love from the fans both on and off the field. I really want to pay back that love with production on the pitch, as well as some off-the-field projects that you guys will hear more about as the season progresses.
I've got a real fire in my belly this season and these flames are burning stronger after the success we've had during our preseason. Unbeaten, tons of goals (not many in our net), and most of all, the cohesion and relationships that we've developed as a team. It's always tricky in this league because the start of a new season will mean the majority of the team is new, so bonding and learning from each other can take time. However, I feel as though the whole team meshed extremely quickly.
The beautiful thing about soccer – and all sports really – is that no matter what happened in the previous year, everyone is equal come match day one. It doesn't matter if you won the USL Cup or if you finished dead last in the league – every team and every player start with a fresh slate. We know we had a good preseason and we know we have a strong team. But as Coach told us this week, we still have zero points on the board, so it's up to us to carry that form into the regular season and show this community, this league, and this country that this team should never be overlooked.
I cannot wait to lace up on Saturday night and get this year started. I'm looking forward to hearing the ever-loud TBB, and to seeing fans old and new. Hopefully, we can make some great memories together and that starts with three points at home to kick off the 2019 season!
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