Sène getting closer to return for Revolution

Sène getting closer to return for Revolution
April 3, 2013, 12:30 pm
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FOXBORO, MA -– Faced with a season-ending ACL tear, Saër Sène had two options.

He could return to France following his surgery and rehab in the comforts of his own home, or stay near Foxboro to be with the New England Revolution while they fought through the remaining games without their leading scorer.

To Sène, there was really only one choice.

“This is my team,” he said proudly. “I wanted to stay, watch the games, look how far we are, and see the result. Now I'm with them and after the game I'm here with my teammates and I can't wait to come back.”

Sène is inching closer to his return this season since suffering the injury late last August. He has joined the team for practice and said on Saturday he had been cleared to play by team doctors.

"I want to play,” he said with a smile. “If it's tomorrow, I want to play tomorrow. I would play today if it's possible, but the doctor said that was too early. I hope next week or soon."

There is no question Sène could help the Revolution once he takes the field. The team has scored just one goal this season (scoreless in the last three games), and could benefit from having last season’s leading scorer back in action – Sène scored 11 goals in 25 games last year.

He has already been helping his team, though, simply by being present.

Sène, 26, has emerged as one of the Revolutions leaders since joining the team last season from Bayern Munich. His teammates respect him not only for his soccer skills, but also for his dedication and motivation away from the game.

“It was big to have him around us during his injury,” said A.J. Soares. “He's a leader, he's a huge part of our group, and I think he feels responsible for everyone. He takes it on his shoulders a lot of times, a lot of games we rely on him. It's the same thing in training, same thing being around in rehab – he’s being a responsible guy, basically."

Stephen McCarthy, Sène’s lockermate this season, recalled the day Sène infused intensity into the team when he knew they could up their intensity during a preseason trip to Arizona.

“The more English he learns, the more he makes speeches,” said McCarthy. “He made some preseason and there was a really important one. He pulled everyone together – we were kind of lacking in toughness that week in training and he was trying to say that we needed to bring that toughness for the game and be hard-nosed. Then we did that in the game and it showed.

“It shows a lot about him. You can get hurt and go to your home to get treatment, so it means a lot that he's that invested in us. He's played on huge teams before so it's kind of like, ok if he's invested in us, we need to be invested in each other just like that.”

While Sène exudes strength, he was challenged by an intense recovery since undergoing surgery in mid-September. Powered on the field by his legs, he had to go through stability training, weightlifting routines, and four weeks of pool exercises to regain strength. 

There were days when he wanted to do more than his body would allow, and moments when he didn’t know if he could push himself any further.

“Sometimes it’s going well, sometimes it’s up and down,” Sène said. “When you get injured, your body needs to get its rhythm again and get used to the knee. It needs time. Sometimes you run a lot and you get tired and you don't want to run anymore, but you have to work hard to get back … Sometimes you feel like you can do a real sprint like you did before. Sometimes you want to do more because you’re feeling better but maybe inside your body isn't. This is a lot of mental stuff.”

In additional to staying mentally strong, he focused on the intellectual side of soccer as well. The recovery time gave him an opportunity to view the game from a different perspective on the sidelines. He closely watched defenders’ tendencies and observed ways he could improve upon returning.

“When you're injured, you think more, you get more clever,” he explained. “The mistakes you were making before, you take a step back to see everything better and that's why I've learned a lot.”

Sène leaned on his mother, girlfriend, family, and best friend (“the real people,” he calls them) to help him through the recovery. He also looked inward to keep driving forward. Sène has unwavering motivation to succeed in soccer.

“I'm young,” he said. “I have a career to do, I have games, I have to show all I can and I have to help my team. I love soccer, I want to play, I want to be up top again, be with my team up top, be personally up top, and this is a challenge – to win the title and do a very good performance.”

The flashy scorer made his return to the field in January before he began practicing with the Revolution. Sène wanted more and more with every taste of athletic freedom he was given.

“Every time you come back from injury you want to do more every day,” he said. “The trainer says, ‘You have to run’ and you say, ‘Ok, can I do passing?’ Tomorrow he lets you do some passing, and you say, ‘Can I just play a little bit?’ Every time you want to do more and you get excited because you're on the field and a couple months ago you couldn't even go out.”

The Revs were equally as excited to see him out there. Rookie Andrew Farrell has yet to play in a game with Sène, but is already anticipating the ways he will help the team.

"He's a really good player,” said Farrell. “I've seen highlights in tapes and I've seen what he's done in practice. It's going to be an energy boost for us, first of all, and offensively that's going to be another weapon that we have. Last season he scored 11 goals and we've scored only one goal all season, so I think that's going to help us a lot.”

McCarthy, who played with Sène last season, can attest to that.

“He's going to score goals on goals,” McCarthy said. “He's going to help us because he's such a threat that teams have to put more than one person on him because he's so huge. He's so good with his left foot that if they don't mark him, he's going to score a goal. He showed it last year and he can score from anywhere. I think that's really what we need – almost a little bit of a spark, some swag up top that other teams are scared of, and people are scared of him.”

Sène had two options after undergoing surgery. He chose to stay with his team, and now he cannot wait to get back in action with them.

“When I came (to the Revolution) I just wanted to win games with my team,” he said. “We need to win games – that’s the most important for me. Personally, I’m working hard to be where I was and better. Just to be 100 percent honest, I just want to be back to win games with my team. We need to win games. This is all that I want right now.”