Aug. 23, 2006
How has the preseason gone for the team?
Everything has gone well. We had a lot of hot days with two practices, but the team worked hard and I think that we are ready for the season. The team is looking good right now.
Last season, there were a lot of seniors on the team, but now the team has welcomed in 14 newcomers. How has this year's preseason been different from last year?
The freshmen have come in with a lot of energy and are really motivated to prove themselves, so that has been good for the team. It is our job as veterans along with the coaches to help them get their game ready for the college level, both mentally and physically. The main difference from last year to this year is that the coaches have done a bit more coaching trying to get all the new players on the same page.
What are your thoughts on opening the season against Stanford?
Stanford is always a big rival of ours and Bay Area bragging rights are on the line. It is also fun to play them on their field because it is a beautiful facility with a good atmosphere. Last year, we were down late and we came back to win in overtime. We have had a good record the last couple of years against them and we hope that we can keep it going. However, we know that they are an improved team this year and our coaches have let us know that so we have to be ready for a difficult game.
You then come home to take on California in the first home game. Are you guys looking for a bit of revenge from last year's NCAA Tournament loss?
Cal has been a thorn in our side since I have been here. We have not beaten them yet and we have lost a number of close games or have ended up tying them. Beating Cal would mean a lot to me personally and also to the veterans on this team that have yet to beat them. I think it would also be big for the program. We are excited to play them in our first home game in front of our great fans.
What are the team's goals this year?
Our goal every year is to get to the College Cup and win the national championship. This year, we have extra motivation because Erik Ustruck (senior midfielder) is from St. Louis, which is hosting the College Cup, so we want to win and have Erik go out on top in his hometown. It would be great to get him there.
What are your memories of the College Cup in 2003 in Columbus?
My best memory of the College Cup was two days before game when we walked into Crew Stadium for the first time. The field wasn't lined yet and the goals were being put up. We saw them starting to paint the four participants names on the field and the NCAA logo. It was overwhelming to see the stadium being made just for our teams.
Once again, the team is facing a difficult early season schedule. The past three seasons the team has started off well against tough competition. How important is it to start fast again?
Starting off strong is a great momentum builder for the team and it gives us confidence heading into West Coast Conference schedule. We know we have a tough schedule, but we feel that we can match up with anybody. These early games will help us later when we have to battle the WCC teams. The freshmen will also get good game experience right away.