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Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan on his long road back from ACL injury

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Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan has revealed some of the mental challenges he’s faced on his long road back from an Achilles injury.

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The veteran stopper has been out of action since tearing his ACL during a 0-0 draw with FC Cincinnati in mid-April, having to watch on as his teammates struggled and failed to make the MLS Cup Playoffs.

However, is moving up the gears in his recovery process and even at 38 years old, is as determined as ever to return and help the Five Stripes get back on track.

Nevertheless, it’s been a tough journey so far.

“I mean, those are probably some of the challenging parts of the rehab process. You’re desperately wanting to be on the field, inside the white lines, but obviously, because of the injury you can’t be,” Guzan said in an interview with Atlanta United’s official website.

“So, trying to stay connected, whether that’s talking to guys in the locker room about plays that happened in training or happened in the game, trying to keep the spirits up throughout the game schedule, and talking to guys and continuing to encourage guys and push them forward.”

Despite being there for his teammates in the locker room, Guzan admits it was difficult for him being unable to influence results, simply having to watch on as Atlanta struggled at the wrong end of the Eastern Conference.

“It’s difficult for me not being out there and not being able to help them, especially in such a tough moment. It’s difficult to then make sure I’m staying focused on what I have to do to make sure that I can get back out there,” he added. “So those are just part of the bumps in the road, if you will of the rehab process, especially being a senior player.”

Guzan is quickly working himself back to full strength and by the time the 2023 season rolls around, should be ready to once again line up between the sticks while also donning the captain’s armband.

More than just picking up where he left off, the 64-time United States international is looking to put the past behind him and make the most of the time he has left on the field.

“To make up for lost time,” Guzan said of his aims for 2023, adding: “This year was frustrating on an individual level, it was frustrating on a collective level.

“At my age, you don’t know when the end is, but you understand that the end is potentially closer than say somebody that’s 21 or 22. So, I want to make the most of not only the year but every day. And that’s competing to the highest level, making my teammates better, myself getting better. I think if I can do that, then I can help the group. And if those moments are good and we’re able to win games, and ultimately, the goal is to compete for trophies again, and after the year we’ve had as a group, that’s what we need to get back to.”

Watch the story of Charlotte FC’s journey to MLS in 90min’s The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.

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