Tireless work ethic.
These are just some of the ways coaches and commentators describe Davy Arnaud. It is that recipe that has helped Arnaud make steps from Nederland's soccer program to West Texas A&M; for three years and now as a seven year veteran of the Kansas City Wizards.
Arnaud had a very illustrious career at Nederland and then with the Buffaloes. He even left as the first All-American in West Texas A&M; program history. That was enough to get recognized by the Wizards (50th pick in the 2002 Super Draft), but even then the Wizards figured Arnaud as a long shot.
The payoff, however, has been marvelous as Arnaud became a starter by his second year with the team. He has adapted to new positions and taken on new roles without really missing a beat.
In 2004, the mid-fielder/striker really started to impress the MLS world by becoming a MVP contender while scoring nine goals and adding eight assists. He even scored two goals in the Western Conference Championship against Los Angeles, propelling KC to the championship game where it lost to D.C. United.
Arnaud has been considered the most consistent player in the Wizards franchise over the course of his career so far. He even led the team in minutes played in 2006. In 2007, he set personal highs in points by scoring nine goals and producing nine assists.
His MLS play earned him a spot on the USA roster where he made an appearance on Sept. 7, 2007 when USA defeated Brazil 4-2 in a friendly.
The dream of playing for the USA team was quick lived, at least for the moment, as just two months after the appearance verses Brazil, Arnaud had to have micro-fracture surgery on his knee, the same surgery NBA No. 1 draft pick Gregg Oden had before his rookie season with Portland.
Arnaud said he could not walk for almost 12 weeks and the rehab was extraordinarily painful. He also said the surgery was something he needed to have done for a long time.
"It was a long process," he said. "And it's a pretty serious surgery but I know it was something I needed to do. It was hard missing so much time because I feel like one of my biggest accomplishments has been the minutes I played."
As Arnaud continued to rehab, KC was forced to play the first 15 games of the 2008 season without him.
The Wizards won just six games without him. Since his return, KC has gone 3-1-1.
KC head coach, Kurt Onalfo, who has been with the Wizards for two seasons, said Arnaud is a vital member of the team.
"Davy is just one of those guys, you know," Onalfo said. "I knew coming in he was a big part of this team. I mean, he is one of our best attacking players and one of the better forwards in all of MLS.
"I feel like I had a unique insight to his abilities from having worked with him with the USA club. If I had to sum Davy up, I have to say he is just an exceptional blend of talent and sheer determination. As far as he is concerned, nothing is going to stop him.
"We missed him badly while he was out but that was an operation he needed to have. He will be better for it. He has a little way to go before he is completely back to form, but he is unbelievably competitive and he works extremely hard."
Arnaud scored his first goal of the season July 10 in the second half against New York. His goal proved to be the winning goal as the Wizards beat the Red Bulls 2-1.
As far as Davy's future, Onalfo said his goal is to help Arnaud get back to the National team.
"He certainly has a leg up since he has gotten their attention before," Onalfo said, "and I know he will stay on their radar. I'd love to see him back there. No one is more deserving."
Arnaud said the key for him is to focus on the Wizards. By doing that, he hopes to attract the attention from the National coaches and representatives.
"You get recognized by league performance, so I have to play well for the Wizards," Arnaud said. "I just need to play consistently. Playing for the country was a great experience and hopefully I’ll do enough for KC to get back there (USA team)."
Arnaud explained that there is almost another two years before the final roster is made for World Cup teams, so there will be ample time to make up for the lost time."
At the end of the day, Arnaud is just happy to be where he is.
"This is my seventh year with KC. I'm playing MLS soccer. I'm doing what I love and it's really a blessing."
Arnaud has 26 goals and 26 assists for his career.
You can check out his stats and reports from the Wizards games at http://kc.wizards.mlsnet.com/t105/.
Tireless work ethic.
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