Goalkeeper, Sean Johnson, currently plays in Major League Soccer (MLS) for the Chicago Fire and is also a member of the US Men’s National Team. Go on the road with Johnson this year as he gives you a player’s view into each MLS city, as only he can do. Take a look:
With the regular season winding down, we were packing up again to head to the nation’s capital to play an important match against an in-conference opponent, D.C. United. It was our third game in a week and you can imagine at this point of the season how tough that can be.
Washington D.C. is a city that I have traveled to many times over the course of my career. I will admit this was one of the few times I have traveled to D.C. in the middle of the summer and let me tell you…it was a scorcher! Don’t let that deter you from traveling to this beautiful city because it’s a place that you are able to experience all seasons. And let’s be honest, living in Chicago, I should probably not complain about hot weather.
My ex-teammate, and good friend, Patrick Nyarko, has been in D.C. now for a season and absolutely loves it. Pat has family not too far away from the city and also attended Virginia Tech so even though he has only played here for a year, he knows his way around! I was really curious to find out what this city has to offer that you never really hear about and also help give you fans some tips on how to make the most of your experience when visiting the city. Let’s hear what he had to say:
SJ: What do you love about the city?
PN: It’s the nation’s capital. There’s a lot of buzz and everyone wants to be close to the Presidency. Someone walks right by the White House and it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to them. It’s that buzz about how much of the control of the country is based right here and in Virginia. It gets people excited to be around the area.
SJ: You always hear about the country’s history when talking about D.C. What is a place you would consider a hidden gem?
PN: A lot of people consider the area to be D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Folks around here put all of us together. You can go over the boarder of D.C. and Maryland and Virginia are right there. You wouldn’t feel like you are in “Maryland”, everything has the same vibe. Besides the White House and all the monuments, one cool spot is the National Harbor. It’s right on the boarder of D.C. and Maryland and it’s just a really nice community that’s been coming up for a few years and now it’s arrived. There’s a bunch of different activities, there’s shopping, restaurants and a whole host of events around that area. There’s a Ferris wheel and hopefully in the next couple months the MGM Grand is going to be open. It’s amazing to just hang out there.
SJ: What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
PN: My last year or two in Chicago I grew to love empanadas and I really like the latin flavor. There’s a place I discovered that I really like called Panas. They have homemade empanada that are incredible! You need to check that out.
SJ: Best way to get around the city?
PN: One thing I was kind of nervous about, coming to the city, was how public transportation works. Back in Chicago it was easy and here, the Metro is the same thing. It’s easy and can get you from point A to point B (especially with the terrible traffic we have here sometimes) quicker.
SJ: I hear you guys are building a new stadium. When is it supposed to be opened and what kind of buzz has it created?
PN: I think it’s in the summer of 2018. I was part of the ground breaking, pretty excited to be a part of that. People in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia are ready for it but it’s strange to move out of RFK because it’s really historic. But it’s time judging from the fact that a whole lot of teams in the league have their own stadiums and just to call a stadium your own stadium establishes an identity. Every one of those fans, new and old, is excited to be a part of it and to start this whole process of D.C. United moving into a new stadium. There’s a huge buzz and obviously the stadium is situated right next to a national park so that could create even more buzz around it.
SJ: What’s your favorite time of year to be in D.C.?
PN: Without a doubt I would say the fall. I’ve gone through the summer and it’s not pleasant at all! We’ve had a couple fall days now and I’m looking forward to the rest of the fall.
SJ: You have 10 seconds to tell fans why they should visit D.C. or come check out a D.C. United game, go!:
PN: As the nation’s capital we have the White House here, Washington monument, and a lot of historic buzz around the city. The D.C. United is one of the premiere teams in the MLS that has a lot of history, won four MLS championships, and we’re getting a new stadium. There’s a lot of buzz and the Nationals are doing good so it’s the place to be.