It's only been a couple of weeks, but Argentine defender Hernan Grana is feeling at home with his new teammates with Crew SC.
Having never traveled to the United States before, the 29-year-old rightback is comfortable with the differences in culture here in the States.
"Being here, obviously from a different country, the culture is different," Grana said through a translator. "You run into that very, very quickly, but it hasn’t been anything but comfortable. The guys made me feel comfortable these past couple weeks. I think that’s important. You come to a new club and you might not know the language very well or the culture, but for guys to be receptive and just welcome you and make you feel comfortable, it’s just been great."
Spending his entire career in his native Argentina, Grana had little idea of what to expect of Columbus or Major League Soccer. Fellow Argentine Federico Higuaín had a major impact on luring the defender to Crew SC.
"What I’ve experienced in my time here, [MLS is] a very competitive league and it’s a league that’s shown it’s competitive throughout the world," Higuain communicated through a translator. "To me, it’s very organized and it’s a league that players can come and develop as well. Then you also have players like Kaka, [Frank] Lampard, [Steven] Gerrard and [David] Villa who are coming to the League and it shows the strength."
Added Grana: "Speaking to Pipa, and for me not traveling to the States ever, he expressed how welcoming the city was, how welcoming the people were, how friendly and what a great city it was to live in, as well as the organization. Just telling us about how people make you feel here, the custom and what the expectation levels are. It’s been phenomenal."
On the field, Grana is still learning Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter's system. Steadily picking up Crew SC's tactics, the former Boca Juniors defender feels his attack-minded style of play suits Berhalter's approach when it comes to his outside backs.
"[Berhalter] is a manager who knows the ins and outs of the game, and he’s very knowledgeable," he said. "For me, the system fits my style of play getting up and down the field and when there’s time to defend, being in the right position. It’s been a very, very positive and comfortable system for me. I enjoy it very, very much and we’ll see how it goes. Gregg is the kind of guy that will day-in and day-out correct you and help you.
"For me, it’s been good."
Crew SC travels back to Columbus on Friday before taking part in the ATX Pro Classic February 13-15 in Austin, Tex.