July 10, 2009
The Matadors had a successful 2008 season, how do you envision the 2009 season shaping out?
As good as our season was last year, there is always room for improvement. With the returnees we have and the young crop of guys we have coming in, asking for a Big West Championship and a NCAA Final Four finish is not out of reach and definitely manageable.
What does the 2009 Matador roster look like?
We have a returning crop of talent that is incredible. Normally a team will have only four or five seniors, but we have eleven and all of them are capable of making an impact. A few of the players in the group of freshman coming in are in the national team pool, so there is not a shortage of talent currently on this team. The only trick is getting the newer guys to buy into the system and encouraging the older players to be leaders, but if all of that clicks then we will be ready to go.
Which players do you expect to have huge seasons?
We expect some of our newer players to have good seasons, but one player that comes to mind is Sunghyun Kim. Sunghyun is somebody who everyone knows is up and coming. He spent the summer in Real Salt Lake in Utah getting more practice in. He is someone that is capable of scoring seven or eight goals this season along with a good number of assists.
With the departure of Co-Goalkeeper of the Year Kevin Guppy, how does your team replace such a significant part of your team last season?
Our team has lucked out the past four years having such an incredible goalkeeper in Kevin Guppy, who is a two-time Big West Goalkeeper of the Year. The way we go about replacing him is taking our goalies and basically beating them up. We want to train them in practice to the point where games will be easier for them. The keepers on this team have the talent and are capable of filling in for Guppy and picking up where he left off.
Who are the leaders of the team?
I would probably have to say returning senior Moy Gomez is a leader because has the ability to get people to rally behind him. Devin Deldo is another senior who leads by example. If you think you are putting in 100% in practice, just watch him. Deldo is always putting more effort during practice than anyone on the team. Chad Borak is another returnee who we also think can lead the team. Between those three, we have the personnel to lead us to something big.
How are the Northridge Summer Camps going?
They are fun because we love teaching, plus its fun watching the community come out and play. When I was ten or eleven I came to the Northridge camps and I remember that was the highlight of my summer getting coached. We do it because we love giving back to the community and it's a way to get people involved with Northridge soccer. We show them how to play soccer and have a fun time on our campus, so when fall comes around and it's a Saturday afternoon, they are more likely to come out and watch Northridge play because Devin Deldo or Chad Borak taught them how to play during the summer.
You were a former player here at Cal State Northridge, how has the transition been from being a player to an assistant coach?
It's different because since it was my first year as a coach, I am still friends with the players. It's a change because all of a sudden I am walking out to practice as a coach instead of a player. Over time, you get more comfortable and start accepting your role as a coach. The transition is easy but it takes a little bit of time getting comfortable with the idea of yelling at a guy that I hung out with a season ago.
Overall how was your first year like as Matador assistant coach?
It was good because they understood I was a coach. It is hard sometimes on the road trips because I want to be with the guys or in practice the urge of wanting to joke around with the guys is there, but I understood that I had to teach myself to stop and act in the manner of a coach.
When you are not coaching soccer, what activities will you focus your attention on?
If I don't have to be in this office or on the field, you will find me in the mountains skiing. During the summer I will usually go rock climbing. Three to five days a week I like to get up to the mountains and do some climbing. Other than that I am sleeping from working too much.
I understand you have a pet turtle, how is old is your turtle and how big?
He is desert tortoise and he is somewhere between 130 and 160 years old. He loves sleeping in my backyard all day. In captivity with a good diet they can live up to 200 years, so he isn't going to die anytime soon. He is about 18 inches long from the front of the shell to the back.