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Journeyman defender Adam West finds new home with Arizona United


Joseph Steen
Cronkite News

PEORIA – Adam West doesn’t give off your typical grizzled veteran vibe. The 30-year-old journeyman defender has been playing professionally for a decade, but looks like a rookie who has just joined the team.

“When I saw him, at first I thought he was 21 years old,” said Arizona United rookie defender Uchenna Uzo. “He looks like a young kid. When they told me he was 30 years old I was very surprised.”

West was a free agent at the start of the season and signed with Arizona in late June. He is no stranger to United head coach Frank Yallop, who has seen the defender play before.

“I’ve known Adam for a few years,” Yallop said. “When I was in San Jose, I had him in training with us in MLS, so I’ve always liked him. We spoke just after I got the job here – I called most of the people that I knew that might have been available.”

West had been sidelined with a knee injury since the beginning of the season and hadn’t been picked up. After Yallop called him, West got himself in shape and came out for a tryout with the squad.

“After 20 minutes of training, I knew (he was ready),” Yallop said. “He’s good, dependable, solid and strong. He’s a good player in this league and it’s good to have him. He’s doing great.”

West said knowing Yallop has helped the transition.

“I know Frank’s style of play,” West said. “I think the type of player I am fits in well with the group and fits his system. Knowing him over the years has proven beneficial, but I think it was more of being called upon and being ready and fit.”

West started off his career with the Seattle Sounders in 2007, winning the championship that year and playing in 29 games for them until 2008. He was released before Seattle’s inaugural year in the MLS in 2009. West then bounced around to a few teams before playing in the North American Soccer League for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and FC Edmonton.

After a short stint with the Seattle Sounders U23 team in 2014 ( U23 teams can select 3 players older than 23) which ended because of an injury, West played for Louisville City FC in the USL last season, making 13 appearances before signing with the United this season.

West made his debut with Arizona on June 25, just two days after he was signed, playing 62 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Sacramento Republic FC.

“With Tommy (Williams) going down with an injury, I was called upon a week before they were prepared to,” West said. “But I was just excited to play, so when I got the opportunity I ran with it and have been going since. The guys have been so welcoming and I think it has all come pretty quick to me.”

West impressed with his play in a 3-2 loss to Tulsa the week after, assisting on a goal by forward Long Tan and he has started every game for the United since his arrival.

“He came in and stepped up real quick,” Uzo said. “The three games I’ve played with him, he knows what he’s doing, he’s so easy to communicate with. He’s a really good player and his presence has rubbed off on me as far as playing.”

Since West’s arrival Arizona United haven’t managed to win a game – drawing two and losing two – but are only five points off the final playoff spot in the Western Conference of the USL.

“The results have been frustrating, I don’t think they’ve been an indicative of how we have played,” West said. “We’ve played well but we’ve had lapses in the game where they are crucial and we allow goals where a simple communication or being in the right area eliminates those problems. I think if we clean up certain things in the game you’ll start to see results turn our way.”