VANCOUVER, BC – David Ousted isn’t exactly an unsung hero.
It's hard to be that when you led the league last year with 13 clean sheets. The Vancouver Whitecaps FC goalkeeper has another six so far this season and made a spectacular save last weekend against Philadelphia Union that ran away with MLS Save of the Week.
Locally, fans, pundits and his teammates know what a key contribution the Dane has made to the ‘Caps these past two years, but there is a feeling that outside of Vancouver, Ousted doesn't get the recognition he deserves.
“I don't think he's valued as highly as I value him,” is the view of his coach Carl Robinson.
In a league where domestic goalkeepers get much of the plaudits, Ousted has flown under the radar – not that the situation bothers him in the slightest.
- READ: Who is David Ousted?
“I don't really pay attention to it to be fair,” Ousted told MLSsoccer.com. “If I was playing for the attention, I think I'd be in the wrong place. I play to help out my team and you know what, coming here every Saturday, I get all the recognition that I could want from the fans. Their cheers are definitely enough for me.”
Coming to Vancouver from Danish Superliga club Randers FC in summer of 2013, Ousted was an unknown quantity and name. That suits him down to the ground because for all his fire and bluster on the park, the 'Caps keeper has always been keen to shy away from the personal praise and point it towards his teammates instead.
“I feel that the amount of clean sheets that we have and the defensive work that we're doing should definitely get the league's attention,” Ousted added. “It's not why we play. It's not that important to us. But it's a great thing that we can be as consistent that we are. It's not just down to me, it's not just down to the back four, it's down to the team.”
“You've seen some of the road games and the defensive work we do there. We have 11 guys defending and that's why we're as successful as we are and that's why we have the clean sheets. So recognition or no recognition, it's important to be consistent and keep performing the way we are.”
Finding that consistency at both ends of the pitch and fixing the "small details" are aspects that Ousted credits for turning Vancouver into a team that has taken the step up to the next level to challenge at the top of the MLS standings, but he also points to an improved psyche as another key component.
“It's that little belief in things that we've had in the first couple of games,” Ousted said. “We've had some late wins, we've had some tough away wins, especially the Salt Lake one. I feel that last year some of those might have slipped away on a mental basis but also on a little bit of quality. We've got that quality, we've got that mental toughness this year that can grind out those results.”
There's been no doubt that both Vancouver and Ousted have grown in his two years in MLS. The Dane made the move initially "to challenge myself on the field and off the field as well" and he's been delighted with every aspect of it so far, and hopes there are more good times to come.
“I said when I came here that it had the best package for me and what I meant by that is that I feel I'm developing every week,” Ousted added. “I feel like I'm getting better and better and playing against players that are really good.”
“But also I feel as a human being outside I'm happy, I'm thriving, and my family's happy and that's a big part of my life as well. It definitely has been a good experience for me.”
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