Chattanooga Red Wolves coach Jimmy Obleda wasn't sure what to expect when he found out the USL League One club was bringing in Tanner Dieterich on a loan from Nashville SC of Major League Soccer.
As it turned out, he had nothing to worry about.
Dieterich has made a pretty seamless transition to the Red Wolves both on the field and off, having played in the team's past three games, starting in the midfield in Saturday's 4-0 trouncing of the New England Revolution II. The Red Wolves are 2-2-2 heading into this week's match at Fort Lauderdale CF (2-1-3).
At the time of Dieterich's addition, the Red Wolves were looking for some depth at midfield, especially after the loss of Ami Pineda to injury.
"Sometimes you get these kids coming from MLS, and they're feeling like they're doing you a favor to come down here," Obleda said after Saturday's win. "And this young man is nothing like that. He's part of the group; they hang out, they go to dinner together. I couldn't ask for him to be more engaged as a person. He's committed to the team and success of the team."
Obleda said that aside from forward Marky Hernandez, who finished a pair of goals against the Revolution, Dieterich was probably one of the team's most valuable players in the match.
"He does a lot of work that people don't see him do, but he does it well," Obleda said.
With the condensed regular season, the Red Wolves are in the midst of making a push that could land them in one of the top two spots needed for the USL League One title match. They currently sit sixth in the standings, but with more than half the season remaining, there's still plenty of time to make a move.
To do so, they're going to need experience on all three levels of the field. Dieterich gives them an additional option in the midfield.
"It's just having an experienced guy from the MLS," midfielder Greg Hurst said Saturday. "He's still young obviously, but having that level of playing at MLS helps the boys around them control the game.
"That's experience we need on the team right now."