July 6, 2009

Conversation With Soccer's Ross Smith

July 6, 2009

Entering his senior season Ross Smith will take on a different role for the Santa Clara men's soccer team as Smith converted to center forward from defense during the off season. And because Smith is only one of four seniors on the roster for next season, his leadership role on the team will be even more important.

Smith's hard work on the field and in the classroom will help him take on the new roles next season. The senior also shared some of his favorite moments from Santa Clara, and his favorite moments as a soccer player.

SCU: You are now a senior on the team. Has your role changed as a leader?

RS: I would say that my role on the team has changed as I have become an upperclassman. You begin to take notice of the younger guys asking questions and not knowing exactly what to do all the time whether it involves soccer, school or socially. Because I have been in their situation I can relate to them guide them with what to do. I have been here three years and this automatically puts me in a leadership position. I will have to work hard to keep the younger guys on track and focused in order to get back to the success that we had my freshman and sophomore years here at Santa Clara

SCU: What has been your most memorable soccer experience in your life? At Santa Clara?

RS: My most memorable soccer experience in my life would be when I visited Old Trafford when I was about 8 years old. It was one of my good friend's birthdays and he invited me to drive down from Scotland (where I was living) and watch Manchester United play in the FA Cup against a team called Wimbledon. Our seats were incredible and the atmosphere great. I will never forget that moment.

My most memorable soccer experience at Santa Clara was my freshman year when we made our run to the Elite 8 in the NCAA Tournament. We had overtime wins, penalty shootout wins, a private jet trip...it was an awesome experience to be a part of.

SCU: You carry a 3.89 GPA. How have you stayed focused enough to achieve such an outstanding G.P.A?

RS:I have always worked hard in school and I hate to fail in anything I do. This pushes me to get the best grades I possibly can in every class. It's a double-edged sword because it becomes stressful worrying about whether you can pull of another A in a class. A lot of my academic success comes down to organization and time management. I know what I need to get done and when and plan accordingly.

SCU: What did you work on during the offseason? As a team? Individually?

RS: During our winter and spring seasons we really focused on being comfortable on the ball and working harder on all areas of the soccer field. We had a rough season last year and it was important that we work as one unit so a lot of focus was put on having the correct attitude and work ethic to be successful.

Individually I worked a lot on being able to hold the ball up and connect passes. Having made the transition to center forward from defender it is not all natural yet. Scoring goals and putting myself in better positions to score goals is also what I have been working on.

SCU: Where are you playing soccer this summer?

RS: I am playing for an Under-23 team from Los Gatos called PSA Storm

SCU: What did you think of the Confederation Cup match between the USA and Brazil?

RS: It was a great final, exactly what every final should be like. There were goals, drama and heartbreak. It was so entertaining to watch the US give arguably the best team in the world a run for their money. I was as shocked as everyone to see the US go up 2-0, but as soon as Brazil scored their first goal I had a feeling they would go on to win it.

SCU: Who is your favorite soccer player past and present?

RS: Ever since I was 5 years old Ryan Giggs from Manchester United has been my favorite player. He has been playing in the Manchester United first team since he was 17 years old and he's still there at the age of 35! His skills are unbelievable and he was so fast and could dribble past anybody.

SCU: Who is your favorite soccer team?

RS:If you could not tell already it's Manchester United from England. However, I was born and lived in Scotland until I was 9 years old so I have to include my favorite Scottish soccer team also and that is Hibernian from Edinburgh.

SCU: Where is the coolest place you have traveled to play soccer?

RS: Japan without a doubt. It was such a unique experience and it is somewhere I probably would never have visited if it were not for soccer. The teams there were so skillful and quick. The culture was great and it was awesome to step outside of my comfort zone.

SCU: If you could play any other sport than soccer, what would it be?

RS: Probably Basketball. It's a fast-paced sport similar to soccer. You can also run a lot with basketball which I'd like to do.