CHAD WINGER - Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Matthias Kern/Bongarts
Pearce against Hannover 96
Last July, Heath Pearce unexpectedly signed with recently promoted Hansa Rostock, spurning clubs ranging from, reportedly, Holland to Scotland.

While Pearce believes the technical and tactical adjustments were minimal, the former SAS Liga Defender of the Year struggled to establish himself as Hansa's left back stalwart.

"I am not sure what my club's plans are for me in the second half of the season," Pearce conceded to YA. "I hope they have big plans."

"I think my play in Germany has been up to par, however, it is not my opinion or idea that matters in the end."

"It has been a learning process but the level has not surprised me or needed adjusting in my opinion, rather the adaptation to not starting or playing consistently as well as the mentality that goes with it."

After an opening the season at his customary position, Pearce quickly found the bench, and rapidly descended the defensive pecking-line. He idled, sideline bound, for nearly two months, before making another appearance.

"I don't think that Hansa has utilized me as much as they can, but this next half season, I hope that will change," Pearce hopes. "If I am given the opportunity to do that, I believe I will do well and help the team in a positive way."

Despite wrangling with the strain of limited opportunity, Pearce remained resolute, believing his training form would justify his eventual inclusion. It did, he appeared in Hansa's final five matches leading to winter recess.

He even found a new position: left-midfield. "I still see myself as a left-back first and midfielder second," he notes, "but I think my abilities are valuable on both sides of the ball.

"I am happy for the opportunity that the club has given me so far," Pearce says, assessing his first-term performances. "I hope that they will give me much more."

Sitting fourth from bottom, Hansa Rostock faces considerable challenges, needing to make their sometimes eye-raising form consistent, while Pearce needs regular appearances to garner Bob Bradley's consideration for summer's World Cup Qualifying.

"In order for us to be successful and stay in the league," Pearce predicts, "we will have to achieve those results once again and win our battles against the other teams from the lower end of the standings."

Pearce and Hansa Rostock will get their chance from the start, returning from the break February 1 to host table toppers Bayern Munich.

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