San Jose striker making most of second chance in league
A lot of labels have been applied to San Jose Earthquakes forward Cornell Glen over the years, and not all of them are complimentary. For all of his breathtaking speed and finishing ability, Glen's first stint in MLS saw him develop a reputation for being an inconsistent, moody player who wasn't always a good locker room presence.
But time and a second chance are often all that is needed to sandpaper away perceptions. And based on Glen's current spell with the Quakes, one in which he has scored three goals in four starts, the Trinidad and Tobago international appears to have made the most of his return to MLS, putting his initial foray into the league firmly into the background.
"I was five years younger, a bit inexperienced for the league, and I took things for granted," said Glen of his first go-round in MLS. "I think some points of my professional life were not as they should have been, but you learn from experience."
The maturity in Glen's game has also been noticed by his teammates, especially those who had crossed paths with the T&T international during his stints with other MLS clubs.
"[Glen] seems to have a little bit more resolve this time around, as far as just getting down to business," said goalkeeper Joe Cannon, who was briefly Glen's teammate back in 2006 when the two were in Colorado. "He's looking sharp right now, so I think from then to now, he's a different player, a bit more focused."
It was back in 2004 that Glen, 28, first arrived on the MLS scene with the MetroStars. He was coming off a scintillating performance in the CONCACAF Champions' Cup, where his goals nearly saw Trinidadian club San Juan Jabloteh pull off a shocking upset of the Chicago Fire.
That first season in New York, Glen tallied six times in 18 matches, a strike rate that would appear to be good enough to earn a return engagement. But following that campaign, Glen embarked on a gypsy-like tour of MLS that saw him traded four times in two years, including stops in Dallas (where he didn't play a game), Columbus, and Colorado (where he played a total of 13 minutes), before finally landing in Los Angeles in 2006.
"A lot of the moves caught me by surprise, especially the move away from New York because at one point, I sat down near the end of the season and talked with Bob [Bradley] and they told me they want me back for the following year," said Glen. "Then I was on vacation back home and someone told me they saw on the internet that I was traded."
Of course, 2006 was a World Cup year, and Glen played all three games for T&T during the finals in Germany. But upon his return, he aggravated an ACL injury he first sustained at the World Cup that knocked him out for the rest of the year. As then-Galaxy and current San Jose manager Frank Yallop put it, "Then, he was gone."
Part of the reason for Glen's departure was down to his desire to play in Europe, but he admits that being constantly on the move got to him.
"You never get a chance to settle into one place and play comfortably," said Glen. "It's difficult playing for five different clubs in three years. I had a hard time getting used to it, and it made me struggle a bit."
Glen then spent the next two years back with San Juan Jabloteh, earning his third T&T league championship in the process. But his hunger to return to MLS grew during that time, and with San Jose desperate for attacking help, the Quakes soon became interested. Some confusion over who was representing him prevented Glen from joining in preseason, but when San Jose stumbled out of the gate, the interest was rekindled, and the player was signed in May.
Three months and three goals later, Glen's current form would seem to indicate that he'll be around for the long haul. Yallop hailed Glen's sharp play on the field as well his professional attitude off it.
"I feel that he knows now how to be a pro," said Yallop of Glen. "He might not start every game. He could be coming off the bench. But what you've got to do is stay focused and be 100 percent for the team. He's done that. He didn't once come to me to wonder why he wasn't starting in a spell when we weren't winning. I spoke to him and said he had to be patient and his time would come. His time has come and he's done well."
And in the process, Glen has forged the best kind of reputation.