With Dusty Hudock moving back to the Charleston Battery, the Rhinos were in the market for a new goalkeeper to back up Scott Vallow in 2006. Last season, Adam Bartlett came and trained with the Rhinos and impressed the coaching staff enough that the Rhinos offered the young English keeper a contract. At the ripe young age of 20, Adam plans to come to the US and try and make the most of the opportunity that is being granted to him by Coach Calloway and the Rhinos.
SoccerSam.com: What was your time like growing up in the Newcastle United youth system?
Adam Bartlett: A great experience. At Newcastle I had 10 seasons of fantastic coaching and with the club I have traveled and played all over the world.
SS.com: Who was your biggest soccer influence growing up?
AB: That would definitely be my dad, Paul. He and my mom, Margaret, gave me the confidence and belief in my own ability from an early age and that same confidence and belief will stay with me for the rest of my career now as I know they will always believe in me. They have been a huge influence on my life as a player and as a person. I can be nothing but thankful for everything they have done for me both on and off the pitch.
SS.com: What person do you try and model your game after?
AB: Shay Given. Only a matter of time before people realize he's one of, if not the most, consistent goalkeeper the world has to offer today.
SS.com: What has been the best moment of your soccer career?
AB: Traveling with the Newcastle United's first team to Inter Milan in the champions league. The experience was priceless. The atmosphere at the game that night is something I'll never forget.
SS.com: What was your favorite soccer team growing up? (If it was Newcastle, are you still going to follow them now that you've moved on?)
AB: Newcastle United.
I'm Newcastle United through and through. Now that the club is heading back in the right direction, I wish Glenn Roeder, his staff, and the players all the very best for what could be a promising future for the team.
SS.com: Who was your favorite player growing up?
AB: Shay Given. Ever since Shay arrived at the club I wanted to play just like him. He's idolized in Newcastle and will definitely go down as one of Newcastle United's all-time greatest goalkeepers.
SS.com: Coach Calloway mentioned that you have your UEFA B coaching license and have been coaching in the Newcastle United youth academy. How has that experience been?
AB: The UEFA B license is actually the next step for me in coaching and is something I will be pursuing over the next few seasons as it takes 12months to complete. I have completed levels 1 & 2 in coaching qualifications and the UEFA B will be the 3rd.
I have been coaching Newcastle United's academy goalkeepers U9's to U16s for the past 4 months now and was promoted to the full-time goalkeepers coach when Graeme Souness was sacked by the club. It has definitely given me a taste of something I'd like to do permanently when my playing career is over.
SS.com: Has looking at the game as a coach helped you tactically as a goalkeeper?
AB: Yes it has. It gives you a lot more insight on things that are talked about by coaches away from the playing staff. Things they'd like to see from goalkeepers that would be a benefit to the team. Definitely a big plus for me to hear these things from coaches that have been in the game for a very long time.
SS.com: What was your first impression of Rochester and Rhinos fans from your time here last season?
AB: I loved everything about Rochester and had a great time last year while in the city.
I was amazed the first game I saw the Rhino's play. At Frontier Field there were 13.000 Rhino fans for the game against the MetroStars, and what a game it was but the side had a 12th man that day in the crowd and they really helped the Rhino's get victory in such a big game with the noise they created.
I'm sure we'll have that same support come the opening of PaeTec Park.
SS.com: Is this going to be your first time living away from home?
AB: Yes it is. But it's not something I worry or think to much about. I just turned 20 last week and at my age it's a dream to be doing something like this. I have no distractions on or off the field in Rochester. That leaves me with nothing but my football to work on which can only help me improve as a player.
SS.com: If you had your choice, what number would you like to have this season?
AB: The #1 jersey. I've noticed Vallow's been wearing the number 24 jersey for the past few seasons, maybe even longer. So there's a possibility he may stick with that but whatever number I'm given I'll wear the Rhino's jersey with pride and hopefully If I work hard enough, I may get to wear it out on PaeTec Park on a game to game basis.
SS.com: What are you doing to get ready for training camp?
AB: Just a lot of fitness and gym work, along the lines of the forms sent to me by the Rhino's to get us ready for the pre-season.
SS.com: The Rhinos will hope to have 14,000+ fans at the opening of PaeTec Park. What's the biggest crowd you've ever played in front of?
AB: I played in front of 24.000 in Hong Kong For Newcastle against Hong Kong's national U23 Olympic side. We drew 0-0 and it was obviously a great result as our average age that night was 18. I also played part of a game in China against Chinese outfit Dalian Shide. We won 3-1 and 32.000 supporters turned up for the game.
SS.com: What goals do you have heading into camp and your rookie season in Rochester?
AB: My initial goal is definitely to form a good working relationship with Scott Vallow. Scott's very experienced at this level and I'll look to him for help and advice.
At the same time I'll be doing all I can to show Scott that I want his place and won't be giving it up. I lack experience at senior level but I don't intend on sitting on the bench for the duration of the season, like every player I want to play games and by the end of the season I will hope to have done so. How many games that is I don't know, all I can do is work hard and hope my chance comes.
SS.com: What do you like to do in your free time?
AB: I like to spend it with my girlfriend but by next week the only contact I'll have with her will be over the phone so I think I'll need a new hobby, probably pool.
SS.com: What is the most embarrassing song or CD that you own?
AB: That's a tough one but I'm going to have to go for Busted ( a present for everyone ). I don't know what I was thinking, It's my little brother's CD now.
SS.com: What is your favorite TV show?
AB: Friends.....great show.
But at the moment I like Lost & One Tree Hill.
SS.com: Who are you picking to win the World Cup?
AB: My heart says England but my head says Brazil. Ronaldinho is unstoppable.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author's, and not necessarily those of the Rochester Rhinos or SoccerSam.com. Feel free to send any comments or complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org. James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.