Written by Student Assistant Chelsea Flintoft '14
Veteran goalkeeper Kevin Klasila (KK) is one of the most experienced players on the Santa Clara men's soccer team. In 2007, he was given the opportunity to play for the U18 National Team and travel to Japan and Brazil. He also was named as an All-WCC Honorable Mention player and was part of the WCC All-Freshman Team - all in his first year. A Los Angeles, Calif. native, Klasila is ready to take charge as the starting goalkeeper as a senior and has already posted two shutouts in four games thus far. He talks to SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCU) more about the 2010 season.
SCU: As a goalkeeper, you have full vision of the field and your players. How are the players looking as a team so far?
KK: The team is really starting to come together. Just in our first four games, I've already noticed a great deal of improvement. After a shaky start in the first half of our season opener, we have been playing some pretty decent soccer, and we are starting to realize the real potential of this group. Despite our 2-2 record, the team mentality is extremely positive; I haven't seen commitment, focus, and energy like this since my freshman year when we lost in the Round of 16. The commitment to defend and work hard for each other really emerged in our victory over Marquette. It was a lot of fun to be a part of it and watch it all happen in front of me. And the best part is that there is still a lot of room for improvement. This season should be very exciting.
SCU: You traveled with the USA U18 National Team in 2007. How has this helped improve your game as a soccer player?
KK: One of the most important characteristics that makes up a good goalkeeper is experience. Traveling with the national team gave me more experience; playing at a higher level, with faster, stronger, older guys in a less comfortable setting helped me understand the game in a different light. It was also just a fun and exciting experience. It validated that all the hard work I put into soccer really does pay off.
SCU: The team's last preseason tournament is the Bay Area Classic (September 16-19). What would you like to see come out of these next two games going into the 2010 WCC season? What opponent are you most looking forward to play against?
KK: If we are 100 percent focused on one game at a time and committed to getting shutouts, we can beat any of these teams. Coming off an outstanding performance at Marquette, I expect some good soccer in these next four games and hopefully a preseason record of 6-2. I am most looking forward to facing both Cal and Stanford.
SCU: Do you feel any changes in your game coming off from a redshirt season last year? What is different about this season so far personally?
KK: Personally, the biggest difference in my game from last two years is my confidence. I've been fighting to regain my confidence since my ankle injury during my Freshman year. After some help from my Dad, my coaches, and ultimately myself, I finally realized how to reinstill confidence back in my game: that is hard work. After putting in the work this summer and continuing to work everyday at practice, I feel great and I'm excited about the season!
SCU: There are seven new freshmen on the soccer team. How are they getting along with the rest of the team and adapting to the higher level of play?
KK: The freshmen are awesome. Their attitudes are great, they're extremely talented, and you can tell how excited they are whenever they step on the field. They also display a sense of maturity that is surprising for freshmen. They bring an exciting spark to this team and will be a huge impact this season.
SCU: Any goals for the 2010 season?
KK: At least 10 shutouts... and a National Championship baby!