There are several reasons Atlanta United midfielder Julian Gressel transitioned smoothly to MLS in his rookie season, but the primary one emerges from an anecdote from his final year at Providence.
Gressel entered his senior campaign as one of the region’s top midfielders. He established his credentials as a future pro and a key piece to the Friars’ success during the run to College Cup in 2014. He planned to continue the progress from the following year and stake his claim as one of the country’s best players.
Everything changed right around the time Providence started to lose the core of its attacking ambitions. The predicament started when Mac Steeves picked up a knee injury and worsened to the point where Friars coach Craig Stewart approached Gressel with the idea for a fundamental shift.