Alec Kann’s return home started well last season.
The Decatur native and Atlanta United goalkeeper started 18 consecutive games in his first extended minutes of his MLS career. He posted four shutouts, went 8-7-3 and had a goals-against average of 1.39, 12th best in the league.
But he suffered a quad injury in a win at Columbus. That, combined with the arrival of Brad Guzan, meant that Kann was going to have to fight again to win his place.
Just when it seemed he was healthy, he re-aggravated the injury while training with the Charleston Battery. He didn’t become fully fit until the playoffs.
Kann is healthy again and ready to compete with Guzan and new addition Mitch Hildebrandt for first team minutes.
Q. Are you healthy?
A. Yeah, I am. I’m out here with a smile on my face, back doing what I love. It was a frustrating second half of the season for me personally. Took my time the second go-round, now I’m back training and back fit.
Q. Seemed like you came back and were back training and then something happened and you were injured again.
A. I went to Charleston to play a game with the Battery and I tweaked my quad again, had to come back here and re-start the process. That was very frustrating, but I learned my lesson not to rush back, be patient and listen to my body.
Q. When were you pronounced fit?
A. Right at the end of the season last year, when the playoffs were starting.
Q. What is your role on the team this season?
A. We will find that out more as the preseason goes on, but for now, just do whatever I can to help the team win. For now, push Brad (Guzan), push Mitch (Hildebrandt) and see where the chips fall.
Q. How’s training with Mitch?
A. He’s raised the level of the goalkeeper group. He works really hard. He’s got good technique. A great addition to the group. He raises the level for everyone.
Q. And the fourth-round pick Paul Christensen, what do you know about him?
A. Paul’s been out all week. Same thing: great attitude, work hard and learn. Me, Brad and Mitch have been around for a little while and we can help take him under our wings and show him what’s expected at this level.
Q. I know you want first-team minutes, but if not, are minutes with Atlanta United 2 cool with you?
A. I want to play games, whatever level that’s at, I’m happy to do it. We will see. I’m not sure how it’s going to work with the USL team with guys going back and forth but I’m sure we will find that out in the next couple of months.
Q. How are the gloves selling?
A. They continue to promote them on social media. I’ve seen some kids in the area wearing them, which is really cool for me to see.
Q. You spent time last year starting. Has it given you more confidence in this training camp?
A. Yes. The second half of the season being injured, I had plenty of time to reflect on the first half of the season: things that I liked that I did, things that I wish I could have done a little bit better and also take the opportunity to watch Brad, who came in and did a wonderful job for us and learn from him and his experience and try to add some things to my game when I eventually get some first team minutes.