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Fully healthy, Colin Bonner looking to make his mark in rookie season

FRISCO - For one FC Dallas player, the season has just barely begun.

Rookie forward Colin Bonner entered the 2016 season on a tough note after suffering an injury at the beginning of the preseason. However, the University of North Carolina-Wilmington alum has finally gotten the chance to train with the team during the past several weeks. As he gets adjusted to the team, Bonner said he is just happy to finally get some reps in with his teammates.

“I feel great and it’s definitely a good feeling getting over the injury,” Bonner said. “I can’t thank the coaching staff enough and everybody in the front office for giving me that chance. Some other coaching staffs wouldn’t do that. It’s nice getting over that hump and getting in rhythm with the guys, and it’s been an awesome experience.”

Unlike most rookie forwards, Bonner comes into the league with a big frame. The rookie stands at 6’4 and weighs in at 215 pounds, which makes him already on par physically with the rest of the pros.

“It’s nice being at least physically there with the professionals,” Bonner said. “Definitely being big and physical has helped me adapt to the professional game and cleaning up on the ball for sure.”

But adjusting to the game physically is just one aspect of MLS. Bonner said he’s quickly learning that soccer is a huge commitment both on and off the field.

“It’s a little bit different than college,” Bonner said with a chuckle. “There’s like one off day, but even on that off day I’m just relaxing and watching other games and everything, so soccer really is your life.”

The pro lifestyle can take some time to get used to, but knowing there are other new guys on the team makes it a little easier for Bonner. Forward Timo Pitter and goalkeeper Ryan Herman are also entering their first year, and having to a pair of fellow rookies going through the same experiences has made them all close.

“You’re in the same positions as some other guys, so you’re not coming in on your own,” Bonner said. “I was in the hotel for a long time with those guys [during training camp], so I got to know them well. It’s definitely a good feeling having at least a couple of buddies going in the same position as you.”

With FC Dallas officially signing the rookie several weeks ago, Bonner said his main focus is improving his game and getting into shape. He’s learning everyday from the likes of fellow forwards Maxi Urutti and Tesho Akindele on how he can refine his movement and scoring goals.

With the team already three games in, the rookie said he is looking forward towards the rest of the season and hopes to put his talent on display. With international callups limiting FCD to just 18 or 19 available players in Saturday's match at DC United, we could see Bonner make his MLS matchday 18 debut on Saturday.

“I’m very excited, I’m going to work hard and try to get my chance,” Bonner said. “I look forward to working everyday and trying to get better.”