It’s only been three weeks, but Oklahoma City is already making an impact for Coy Craft.
The Homegrown has started each of the last three games for FC Dallas’ USL affiliate, Energy FC, and while back in Frisco earlier this week for a few training sessions with the first team, Oscar Pareja sees a different player.
“It’s incredible how games [and] competition impact a player,” Pareja said. “Coy is showing us that it’s working. I can see his body, his mentality, his habits [have changed] because he’s competing.”
Craft, who spent the early season working his way back from an injury picked up while in camp with the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team, says the consistent playing time while on loan has been an important step in his recovery.
“It’s nice to get 70, 80, almost 90 minutes in the past three games. It’s nice to get back in a rhythm,” Craft said on Wednesday. “I feel like I’m closer to being back to myself.”
And the benefit of the 18-year-old’s time in OKC has been mutual. In his very first appearance for the side, Craft scored an incredible goal as Energy FC picked up their first point on the year in a 2-2 draw with Saint Louis FC. Over his first three games, he’s played 224 minutes and has seven shots.
“They are very happy with him, especially because of his professionalism,” Pareja said. “[Head coach] Jimmy [Nielsen] says that he is very coachable, that he tries with all his heart to make what the coach wants [happen]. And that’s a good thing.”
“They’ve really taken me in as one of their own and the team chemistry is really awesome,” Craft said. “It’s kinda like a second home for me right now so it’s been a good experience so far.”
Craft, along with loanee Colin Bonner who was also training in Frisco this week, are expected to travel with Oklahoma City this weekend for the team’s game against Arizona United SC on Saturday.