Up Close & Personal with Jeff Stewart

Sept. 14, 2001

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Senior captain Jeff Stewart is the unquestioned leader of the 2001 Santa Clara University men's soccer team for good reason. Stewart earned 2000 WCC Defender of the Year honors and was selected as a preseason All-American by College Soccer News. Regarded as one of the premier defenders in the nation, Stewart has garnered a great deal of interest from teams in Major League Soccer. Thus far in his senior season he has scored one goal and helped guide the Bronco defense to a 0.91 goals against average. During his stellar four-year career at Santa Clara, Stewart has yet to miss any of the 66 matches that Santa Clara has played during that time span.

Q: What thoughts went through your head after hearing and seeing the news of what had happened in New York on Tuesday?

A: "It was just such a tragedy and I was glued to the television for that whole day. It was hard to concentrate on anything but that. All of my thoughts have been and are with those who lost family members and friends."

Q: Are you glad the games were cancelled this weekend?

A: "Definitely. Our minds should be with the families that lost people and with what is going on in our country. Everybody should be listening and watching the news. We shouldn't be concentrating on any other things that aren't essential."

Q: When did you realize that soccer was the game for you?

A: "I think it was probably middle school. That is kind of when you have to decide to take one sport seriously. For me I was playing all the sports that young kids play, sports like basketball and baseball. The time to make a decision on which one to concentrate on came right around when I was 11 and I chose soccer. I am very glad I did."

Q: How did it feel to be selected the 2000 WCC Defender of the Year?

A: "It was a great honor and I hope that I can have some of the same results this year. I am just trying to build off of last year as it was just a great honor."

Q: What are your goals for your senior year?

A: "I just want to help my team make it to the playoffs, which is a team goal that we set this year. Pretty much all I am thinking about right now is doing anything I can to help our team move on to the postseason. I think we have a good shot of doing that and hopefully moving on to the College Cup after that."

Q: Who is the one person you most admire?

A: "Definitely my Dad. He's just been a perfect role model for me. There is no way that I would be at this school or in this position I am in without him. He was able to be hard on me through some tough years in high school and I had to decide which path my life was headed down. And, he helped me find that path. Because of that I thank him. Because of him I am at this school and have the opportunities I have right now."

Q: Who would you consider your best friend on the team and why?

A: "I have to say a couple. First my housemate Burke Ewers because he has put up with my loud music for the last couple of years. I spin and am a DJ, so I put my turntables on the kitchen table where we would usually study. So he had to move his homework to the top of the refrigerator and do it from there. So I would say him for all that he has put up with for the last two years. The other one I would say would be Keith Burden.

Q: What is your favorite soccer memory?

A: "One of them just recently happened, which was scoring the overtime goal to beat Oregon State. But I think the top one happened during my sophomore year against Stanford in the College Cup. It was just a battle, one of my favorite games of all time. The score ended up at 2-2 in overtime and went to PK's. I stepped up to take the first PK and slotted it. Everybody else on our team made our shots and we eventually won 5-4 in penalty kicks."

Q: What are your plans after this year, do they include Major League Soccer?

A: "Hopefully, yes. I hope that by the end of the season I will be in a position that some MLS coaches will be looking at me. I will hopefully be playing in the senior bowl at the end of the season where I can get some more looks from coaches. Yeah, I hope to play in the MLS after this year."