Interview with Julie Johnston – Part I

Here is a tip for all you journalists out there: If you want to interview somebody, you should ask her MOM!

Interviewing a Bronco soccer player was on my list of topics to write about ever since I started writing this blog. We see SCU soccer players at the grocery store, the frozen yogurt store, the pizza place, and running all over the neighborhood, so we thought we’d ask the next Bronco we saw. As it turned out, we sat next to Julie Johnston’s mom at the SCU soccer game and she was very helpful in setting up this interview.

If you don’t know who Julie Johnston is, she’s an awesome soccer player at SCU, who also was the captain of the U-20 national team that won the U-20 world cup last September. She’s also really, really, really nice! I have been watching her play soccer at Santa Clara since she first came here, so I was excited to interview her.

(I’ll probably have to put the interview into at least two parts because I asked Julie over fifty questions – she was very patient and answered all of them.)

Eva Petersen: Do you have any pets?
Julie Johnston: “I have the cutest little dog named Molly. I think she’s like 13 years old now, she’s getting pretty old, but I love her to death.”

EP: Are you a good juggler?
JJ: “I AM a good juggler; I usually start with juggling every time I work out.”

EP: What is your favorite item of clothing to wear?
JJ: “Sweatpants! Absolutely sweatpants! Every day – any time.”

EP: What was your favorite subject in school?
JJ: “I absolutely loved history in high school. I loved learning about history.”

EP: How many pairs of cleats do you have and which pair is your favorite?
JJ: “I rotate through five. I have five working pairs, but they’re all Tiempos. I love Tiempos – I love the way they feel on my feet. I just have them all in different colors.”

EP: How many hours do you spend on training and soccer related activities?
JJ: “I’d say two hours, minimum, a day, and it’s not even a hassle, I love doing it. If I’m in a good mood, I go kick a soccer ball. If I’m stressed, I go and kick a soccer ball. If I’m sad, I go kick a soccer ball. I feel like I just do it because it’s something that I love to do.”

EP: Have you ever played goalkeeper in your life?
JJ: “I did actually. When I was younger we used to play because we didn’t have an official goalkeeper, so we used to rotate. And then, I tried out for third string goalkeeper on the twenties (U-20 national team) because we didn’t have a third in Spain. There were three of us who tried out and I’m not really sure who got it, because three of us tried out, but they never needed a third one. No one got injured, thank goodness.”

EP: Is there anything you do in particular to prevent injuries?
JJ: “Yes. Especially now, being through so many injuries, I make sure that I rest when I need to – that’s a huge one. I love to go and play, play, play – the coaches never have to get me out there to practice extra, but it’s more of when to take a rest and make sure my body is injury free, I guess.”

EP: What team do you like to play against?
JJ: “I love playing against teams that are challenging. I feel like when I play in big games that are not easy – it makes you a better player. Especially in this area I would say Stanford – it’s always a rivalry, and the past few springs we’ve beaten them – those are the games that every athlete wants to play. I would say teams that are in the top ten are my favorite teams to play.”

EP: What style (of soccer) would you say that your team plays and what style do you feel more comfortable playing?
JJ: “I actually chose this school because they play possession style, which is my favorite style. We don’t really play direct that much and we actually have a harder time playing direct. I also like it because there is a lot of freedom. Coach Jerry does a really good job allowing players to be individuals as well as playing as a team. So formations aren’t really a factor at Santa Clara, it’s more of here’s your basic shape. But at the same time you have your freedom to play the sport you love.”

EP: How many yellow cards have you gotten?
JJ: “In college, I’ve had one every year. My first yellow card, when I was little, I actually cried.”
EP: “Me too!”

EP: Was there a college soccer team you watched when you were a kid?
JJ: “I grew up watching ASU games. However, I went to almost every College Cup since I was 14, and that’s when I really saw how much I loved the game.”

EP: Are there any soccer skills or parts of the game that you had to work harder at?
JJ: “Yeah, I would say my left foot, it used to be weak. I would only practice with my left foot to make sure it is stronger. That was one I really had to work on.”

EP: What would you like to improve about your own performance and what do you think you do really well?
JJ: “I’d still like to improve my finishing – I think it’s improved tremendously, but I want that to be almost flawless, I guess. I think I read the game really well. I think my game vision is what makes me a good player, and I’m really competitive and I think that helps me in anything I do because I want to win so bad that I work harder in practice, I work harder in games…”

EP: We saw you at an Earthquakes game – do you go to the games often?
JJ: “I do go to their games – I try to go to the games as much as possible. Sam Garza is actually one of our good friends. He is injured right now – he’s on the team. He’s so nice – he supports our team, so of course I’m going to support him too, and I enjoy watching him.”

EP: Who is your favorite Earthquakes player?
JJ: “I actually have a few – I really like Busch in goal, I think he is a tremendous goalkeeper. He has awesome saves, and is VERY consistent every time we go – I’m huge about consistency in players. He definitely has that… I like Chavez, because I like players who play with emotion and creativity and he does that. Hernandez is one of the best defenders – he’s so good. Those are my top three I enjoy watching when I go.”

EP: Is there a soccer player that you would like to meet and what would you say to that person?
JJ: “Definitely Christie Rampone – With my role on the U-20 team – it was very similar to hers and she actually wrote a letter to me and the team. It’s amazing how little things help younger players – She took her time to do it – I ‘m very thankful she did it because it did help a lot, and I would like to meet her to thank her.”

EP: A male soccer player?
JJ: “Male soccer player – I am just absolutely obsessed with Barcelona – I watch every one of their games, I would absolutely say Messi because he is the world’s best team player and I’m all about that – phenomenal finisher, plays for the team, just a great guy. Some of his quotes…just team first and that’s what I love.

EP: What advice would you give to girls my age who are dreaming about playing in college?
JJ: “Always embrace the opportunity. That would be my huge one. If you do the little things when you’re younger they become more enjoyable when you get older. (Because you don’t have to work on your left foot like me!) Embrace the opportunity, no matter what it is. Look at everything in a positive light – if you’re running, enjoy that running, because it will help you out in the game that you love. Embrace the opportunity…”

Coming soon: Part II with Julie Johnston!