FC Dallas right back has had a rollercoaster of a year after topping the Western Conference but the full back came face to face with disappointment after dropping out of the MLS Cup to eventual winners, Portland Timbers.
The talented MLS star can play a number of positions across the pitch including, fullback, winger and forward.
Atiba Harris started his career at Newcastle United as an academy player before making a move to St.Peters FC in his home nation ofand Nevis.
In 2003, Harris became the firstplayer to sign for a Spanish club when he agreed terms with Cádiz. The Kittitian international was loaned out to Linares in 2004 before signing for MLS side Real Salt Lake in 2006. Harris made over 10 starts appearances for Salt Lake as he became the first Kittitian player to sign for a Major League Soccer side.
As part of the 2008 SuperDraft (which took part in December 2007) Harris was traded to Chivas USA. The right back spent a season and a half with The Goats before joining FC Dallas in July 2009, as part of an exchange for former São Paulo midfielder, Marcelo Saragosa.
Harris scored his first FC Dallas goal against five time MLS Cup winners, LA Galaxy in September 2009. The former Newcastle United youngster played a major part in FC Dallas’ 2010 season as he helped the club reach their first MLS Cup final.
Due to Harris’ performances in the 2010 season Vancouver Whitecaps selected the player in their 2011 MLS Expansion Draft. Harris picked up an injury which lead to the fullback missing out on most of the 2011 season.
Colorado Rapids made a move for the player in December 2012. Harris spent one season with The Rapids before being traded to San Jose Earthquakes in January 2014. The deal involved Marvin Chávez joining Colorado.
During the 2014 MLS Re-Entry Draft, The St. Kitts international joined FC Dallas for his second spell with the club.
FC Dallas finished top of the Western Conference meaning they clinched the number one play off seed in the Conference, how can you describe the emotions related to this achievement?
It’s been a fantastic year for the club even though we fell short of the MLS Cup, we were able to accomplish most of our goals which included winning the Western Conference and Qualifying for the Champions League.
How different is it playing in the MLS compared to playing in the Spanish Segunda División B?
It’s been many years since I played in Spain but I think the main difference is the pace of the game, at least that’s what it was back then.
You have played for a number of MLS clubs during your career but who is the best team mate you’ve played with and why?
I’ve met a lot of amazing people throughout my career but Chuck Chijindu who I played with during my time at Chivas USA remains my best teammate and friend.
You were the first player from St. Kitts to sign with a Spanish club in 2004 and then two years later in 2006, you became the first St. Kitts player to sign with a Major League Soccer side, how proud are you of this achievement?
It’s definitely something to look back at and be proud of, but what would make me complete would be if I was to start seeing lots more players fromand Nevis playing professionally and earning a living from the game.
You have played over 50 times for St. Kitts but who is your best friend in the side?
I’m always proud to represent my country and I am sure all the other players are as well. Choosing one player as my best friend within the team is tough because I love them all like family. We’re a close group.
A lot of iconic players have worn the number 14 shirt, including Thierry Henry and Johan Cruyff. Is there reason why you picked 14 instead of 16 for FC Dallas?
There is no special reason why I picked number 14 but I’ve grown to like the number now.
This is your second spell with FC Dallas, is this where you enjoy playing your football the most?
I’ve always enjoyed playing for FC Dallas. It’s where I was able to fully establish myself as a player. It wasn’t my decision to leave the first time around but I’m happy to be back and so is my family.
You can play a number of positions including Full Back and Striker, in which position do you operate at best?
I’ve been blessed with the ability to play multiple positions on the field but I don’t think it has really helped me to master my craft in one spot so it’s really tough to say where I can operate best. I guess it all depends on what the team needs.
Ezequiel Cirigliano is currently on loan at FC Dallas from River Plate, how much potential does the young midfielders have?
Ezequiel has the potential to do great things as a footballer and so does Kellyn Acosta and Victor Ulloa. They’ve all done a wonderful job for us during this past season and hopefully they can all bring that form again next season.
Who was your childhood hero who inspired you to become a footballer?
Well, we played football in the streets or in any space possible so the passion for football started there. As I grew older I started to realise that I could actually make a living from this game but it was all a dream back then.
You played for Newcastle as a youth player, would you ever go back to play in England if the opportunity came around?
Playing in England was a dream back when I was a teenager but I have other goals and priorities now as I’m quite happy in America.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
10 years is still along time away but I hope that I’ll still be able to run around with the field with no pain ha. I would definitely like to be involved in football.
You are a 64 overall Right Back on FIFA 16, do you ever play as yourself when relaxing on Xbox?
I haven’t been playing FIFA lately but when I did, I definitely use to play as myself and I would make sure I scored lots of goals as well lol. I might just pick up the sticks again and enjoy it whilst I can.
With players such as Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Kaka and Andrea Pirlo playing in the MLS, how much has the league developed since you first joined in 2006?
The MLS is much better today than when I joined the league back in 2006. The league is attracting big name players but I think that the biggest improvement overall is within the quality of the youth academies. Different sides are developing their own players now which is very important for the future.
With such high quality players joining the MLS, who is the best player you have come up against during an MLS fixture?
The best player I’ve played against in the MLS has to be Thierry Henry. He was class.
You reached the 2015 Conference Finals before losing to Portland Timbers, who went onto win the MLS Cup. How disappointed was the team after this defeat?
It was definitely disappointing to lose out to the eventual MLS Cup winners but I think we’ve learned from it and hopefully next year we will go all the way.
FC Dallas head coach Óscar Pareja is a former FC Dallas player, how does this help when it comes to his management style?
Óscar is very passionate about football and the club. I think it’s great to have someone like that in charge. He knows everything about the club because he’s been a Player, Academy Coach and now First Team Coach. He’s developed many of the players who are now getting opportunities with the first team so it’s huge for FC Dallas to have him in charge.
What are your plans for the 2016 MLS season?
I have personal plans that I keep close to heart but the main goal has to be a Championship win. That’s why we play.
Finally, who did you support when growing up as a child?
I support Chelsea but as a little boy, Real Madrid was always the team I wanted to watch.
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