Dante Polvara believes he can be Aberdeen’s own Mr Versatile.
The American has had to be patient as he waits to make his debut for the Dons.
He is recovering from minor surgery following his move to Scotland earlier this month but the former Georgetown University midfielder is confident his ability to perform in various roles will make him a useful asset for manager Stephen Glass.
He said: “I’ve been lucky enough that I can change how I play based on what’s needed.
“My adaptability is one of my strengths, especially in the last year where I’ve played a bunch of different roles for the team.
“I like being able to do different things as some days the gaffer may need you to be a box to box player and the next perhaps more defensive.
“I’m not someone who can play right wing then left back but I can definitely do a job anywhere in the middle of the park.
“It will be different but hopefully my style will fit how we play. I’ve watched all the highlights back home and we create a lot of chances.
“I think I’ll be a bit of a standout in terms of how I play and there will be some growing pains. There’s so much to learn but I can’t wait to get started.”
Polvara’s role has changed as he has grown
At 6ft 4in tall the 21 year-old is going to be hard to miss when he does make his first appearance for the club and Polvara, while backing himself to succeed following his move to Scotland, knows he has a lot to learn.
He told RedTV: “Growing up I was a bit smaller so I was a crafty, creative number 10.
“As I’ve grown and physically become more mature I’ve found myself dropping a little deeper to play at six or eight.
“I can cover a lot of ground as a box to box midfielder but my best asset is creating stuff, whether it is getting the ball from the back four and creating a chance out of nothing or long balls.
“I like to take risks on the ball and try things. Of course it comes with a lot of failure or things not working out but then one pass works out and that’s the game winner.
“That’s how I love to play.
“It’s exciting, you can take a lot of flak for some things, but it’s part of the game.”
Aberdeen’s US connection paid off with Pittodrie move
The recommendation of his coach at Georgetown, Brian Wiese, and Wiese’s connection to former Dons goalkeeper Bobby Clark, helped put Polvara on Aberdeen’s radar last summer.
Aberdeen have been patient in getting their man, whose move to Pittodrie was announced 24 hours after he won the Hermann Trophy, the award for the top collegiate player in the United States.
Swapping the outskirts of New York for the Granite City is a huge change but one Polvara had no hesitation in making – even if there have been some early challenges.
He said: “It has been a bit of a culture shock as I couldn’t even figure out how to use the microwave at the time so we’ve come a long way in 10 days.
“Everyone thinks it is so cold but in New York it gets a lot colder so it’s alright.
“The emphasis on the club culture and team culture was the main pull in me coming here and it has been true. Everyone has been so welcoming so it is great.
“I’d trained with a few MLS clubs and it has been great seeing guys I’ve grown up with make it.
“That’s been awesome to experience but I’ve always had this deep love of travel and I know the game can take you if you are lucky to places you never thought you would live in.
“My coach at school, Brian Wiese, has a very good connection with Bobby Clark who he coached under. I exchanged a few emails with Bobby too and it has all happened so quickly.
“In the US it can be hard to be noticed if you are not playing professionally of course but these are people I trust and it felt right.
“If you are going to make a move and leave everything behind you have got to make sure you are going somewhere where people will look after you and you have people can trust.
“There wasn’t a doubt from that standpoint.”
Ramirez advice welcomed
Polvara’s move to Aberdeen has doubled the American contingent at the club and the midfielder is pleased to have a compatriot to lean on for advice in the form of the club’s leading goalscorer Christian Ramirez, who joined the Dons last summer.
He said: “I spoke to Christian and took a lot of comfort in that. For an American to come over and have success, and be a fan favourite, where he has an aura around the club, is important.
“He was honest about stuff. I appreciated that and it all sounded good as far as what I wanted.
“I have a few friends who play in Europe already and I chatted to them to get their perspective too. It all helped.
“The first two or three days it is a lot to handle. You arrive with so much excitement but when you are left alone for an hour you realise it is not fun and games and you are actually living here now.
“So to be able to chat with him for a few minutes and ask all the questions has been nice.”
As for the decision to move to Aberdeen Polvara said: “I had to look up where the club was. I was familiar due to European competitions and I knew it was in Scotland.
“I thought ‘it’s a bit far north’ as I know the big cities are in the south but it is appealing to be near the water. I flew in during sunrise and it looked beautiful so I was very excited.”
Polvara rejected American football to pursue his soccer dream
Polvara, the son of South African parents, grew up supporting Chelsea due to the high profile of the Premier League in the United States.
He had the chance to take his career path down another path but insists football was always his priority.
He said: “When I got to high school I had to stop playing for my soccer team and starting playing for the football team as a kicker.
“The record in the NFL is something like a 67 yard field goal and I was going close to that so there was a time where my football coaches were saying I should take this seriously but I had already committed to soccer.
“It was fun to experiment with different things but this is what I’ve known my whole life. My days just evolve around it.”