Chris Odoi-Atsem joined Maryland men's soccer as a forward, but he quickly found a home on defense. He started at least 20 matches in all four of his years as a Terp before D.C. United selected him with the 12th pick in this year's MLS Draft.
When coach Sasho Cirovski searched for Odoi-Atsem's replacement at right back this spring, he again looked up the field, pegging midfielder/forward George Campbell as a potential fit.
The change has stuck, and when No. 6 Maryland kicks off against No. 15 UCLA on Friday, Campbell will continue adapting to his new position in his final year with the Terps.
"It was something I really took as a challenge," Campbell said. "I'm still learning. I'm just trying to get better with it every day."
During an attack drill in spring practice, Cirovski told Campbell he wanted to see him at right back. Campbell was "all eyes and ears," Cirovski said, and hasn't looked back since.
Campbell's first three years at Maryland were plagued with inconsistency as he battled injuries.
As a sophomore, he notched Maryland's first hat trick in 10 years, propelling Maryland to a 4-3 win at Penn State. But he never scored outside that game and made just one start. As a junior, he scored three goals, two of which came late in blowout wins.
With starts in Maryland's first two games this season, he's already matched his 2016 start total.
"He had a good spring and he's just continued that development," Cirovski said.
Cirovski raves about Campbell's work ethic, and midfielder Eryk Williamson said it's a key part of Campbell's playing style during games and his mentality in training.
"He's one of the guys that … just runs for days," Williamson said. "He worked all summer. [I] saw him pretty much every single day in here working."
Campbell is also Maryland's only starting four-year player — a primary reason he's one of the captains this season.
But while the Terps have cherished his return, it's also forced adjustments during training.
"It used to be, 'OK George, you're with the forwards,'" Williamson said, "Now it's just kind of like, 'Alright, see ya George, it was nice while it lasted.'"
Williamson and his fellow offensive players sometimes tease Campbell about not being allowed to take shots anymore, but in reality, the Baltimore native uses his time playing higher up the field to his advantage.
He said he now knows methods to pass defenders, which helps him succeed in Cirovski's fluid attacking system.
Campbell sacrificed his natural positioning, but his willingness to adapt has made him a crucial player on Maryland's backline.
"George is a beautiful person," Cirovski said. "He loves this place. He'll always do anything for the team."
CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this article said Campbell had matched his 2016 scoring output. He's matched his 2016 games started (two), but has zero goals after scoring three last year. This article has been updated.