Brandon Vincent had a good ‘what I did on my summer vacation’ story when the Chicago Fire went on break in early June.
When the Fire took a week off of training in the first week of the Copa America Centenario break many of the players left town. Vincent went back to Stanford, where he helped the Cardinal men’s soccer team win the NCAA Championship for the first time ever.
Vincent was able to see familiar faces while visiting his old stomping grounds and received his championship ring.
Most of the team had received their rings earlier in the year, but Vincent left campus to participate in the MLS combine less than a month after the Cardinal won the national title in December.
“It’s good to see my friends and my old coaching staff and the guys that helped me get to where I am now,” Vincent said. “It’s kind of a quick turnaround not being there for the second part of the quarter to get the ring to celebrate the championship and everything, but it’s nice to be back and just be with the guys for a little bit and then reset and come back here.”
The turnaround for draft picks in MLS, especially after deep tournament runs, doesn’t leave much time to linger on campus. Just over a month after winning the national title, Vincent was drafted No. 4 overall and headed to the Fire.
The busy season schedule kept things moving for Vincent. His visit to Stanford provided a slightly different perspective for the rookie left back.
“It’s different when you’re in the moment and you’re in school and it’s like I want to be done and move onto the next step,” Vincent said. “Then once you’re at the next step you’re looking back. I appreciate it more when you’re back there and all the people that were a part of it.”
With the Fire, Vincent has made nine appearances, eight starts, in MLS play and played the full 120 minutes in the first U.S. Open Cup match against Indy Eleven right after the break.
After starting the first three matches of the season, Vincent didn’t play at all in April. He returned to the field on May 11, nearly two months after his previous appearance on March 19. Since then Vincent has missed just one match, which came in Colorado three days after playing 120 minutes in the Open Cup match.
Vincent admitted to an adjustment period early in the season and hopes he can keep improving.
“I’ve struggled here and there and I’m just trying to learn and keep my head on straight and keep going forward,” Vincent said. “Everyone is so much quicker and sharp on this level. It’s just a matter of getting the same wavelength with everybody else on the field and reading plays to kind of make plays offensively and defensively. Then just going forward, trying to be more accurate and precise with what I’m doing.”