Interview: Chris Richards Opens Up About Recovering From Injury, and More

On-loan FC Bayern München defender Chris Richards has gone from talented youngster to senior USMNT player – and now Bundesliga goalscorer – in just a few short months at Hoffenheim.

Things haven’t always been easy for Richards, and the 21-year-old centre-back opens up about recovering from injury, the US national team, and his journey from Dallas.

The Interview

Richards about his recovery and rehab.

It’s a lot of bike riding, getting my legs moving while we wait for it to heal enough to run. It’s a lot of lifting weights, getting stronger because you don’t usually get this much time during the season to do weights every day. It’s a mixture of doing weights, biking, massaging, and trying to get the swelling out.

Richards about TSG Hoffenheim’s ups and downs in the last few weeks.

We’ve had a few unlucky games, definitely. A few of the games we were really in but were kind of unlucky at the end, we didn’t have that final punch to score the goal. That was the main difference. Mentally we know that we’re in a good place, we just need to bring it on the field every time.

Richards about the U.S. national team.

It’s always nice to be able to see those guys and come together. We’re still trying to qualify for the World Cup. It’s a lot of fun but it also works and we go there and try to have the most fun while also doing well on the field.

Richards about the last six months when he has become a regular in the Bundesliga.

It’s been amazing, it’s been a lot of hard work and, I wouldn’t say struggles, but a continuous battle every week. It’s something that I’ve been really looking forward to, and I’m happy I made this step in my career.

Richards about his new teammate, Justin Che, and how he came from Dallas, and the fact he is also a defender.

Justin is like a little brother to me; we play in the same position and he’s a few years younger than me. With him coming through the Dallas academy, we have that connection together. I’m just going to be here to help him as much as possible. Hopefully, he can help me as well and push me to become better. We are all competing for starting positions, but we take it hand in hand. We want to make each other better and if he’s playing at the weekend then I’ll support him.

Richards about Justin Che’s footballing qualities and his character.

He is so diverse on the field. He can play right-back, he can play centre-back, and he does both well. He’s young, but he has a lot of skills and I think he’ll do well in the Bundesliga. He’s a cool guy, I don’t want to give him too many props because that might go to his head, but he’s a cool guy. He fits right in here.

Richards about the Dallas academy.

Dallas is definitely a place where a lot of young players developed to move from the academy to the first team and then on to Europe. It’s just the culture they have there, exposing young players to a professional environment at such a young age and giving them a chance.

Richards about the targets for the rest of the Bundesliga season.

We want to qualify for Europe, and I think that’s not far-fetched, so we’re definitely going to push for that. Hopefully, I can score a few more goals and help the team with a few more shutouts. Those are my two big goals for the rest of the season.