Last year, there was a great article in the Bi-Co News titled Profile of a Player, which was a great read. Feel free to check it out.
As a part of our new expanded coverage, every so often, we will be interviewing various varsity athletes and profiling them in our new column! We are proud to present the inaugural edition of Profile of a Player with our very own Charlie Michele ’13! Charlie is one of the goalkeepers for the soccer team. I had the opportunity to sit down with Charlie and discuss a few burning questions I had. If you have any ideas for future interviews or questions, feel free to comment below or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your continued support!
How has being a goalie going lately?
It’s been alright, enjoying it. Not quite the start to the season we all wanted, but at the same time we are having a good time together. We feel like we are just there, just literally need to get a win and then we are hoping that that will be the catalyst for things to come.
Has there been a Sweden hangover effect?
Sweden was like a great experience for us. It was even more important because we had a new coach. It was a great opportunity for him to get to know us and us to get to know him. Sweden actually helped us prepare for the season more, because the more time we get to go as a unit, getting used to new systems benefits us as a group.
Tell us a bit about the Sweden Trip
For a lot of people it was their first time out of the country, so looking at passports was entertaining. We spent a couple days in Gothenburg, Malmo, and a day in Copenhagen. It is a beautiful country, beautiful people, and beautiful scenery. You know, we were able to play against a couple of really good academy teams and see the sights. Really get to experience the night life a little bit, that was fun. Definitely expensive! We were able to see AC Milan against Malmo. Kind of like the equivalent to seeing the New York Yankees playing a local Brooklyn team. We all had a great time.
What was your favorite activity?
We were able to go out one night and experience a party on a boat. A lot of fun, we tried to use our American ways, our pickup lines, on Swedish ladies who… let’s say there were quite a lot more misses than hits. You could say there was a language barrier. You know, getting to see the Swedish people, getting to know them, and also the soccer was a lot of fun. We were able to meet with the players afterwards and compare our experience with them. That was fun, they thought that because we were Americans we knew all of the celebs.
We heard that you had spent a large part of your childhood growing up in another country. Can you tell us a bit about that?
I am originally from Connecticut, but when I was 10 my entire family moved to England. That was a complete culture shock; it changed my identity. I was there for 10 years; we officially moved back the beginning of my sophomore year. I lived in England thinking I was American and then came back to America thinking I was America, but realizing in terms of language, diction, cultural aspects were different than what I had realized. My accent was entertaining. People originally thought I was putting it on, using it to pick up girls. Then they realized that was actually the way I talked! But it helped give a perspective on everything- socially, culturally, and athletically. For those who have not gone abroad, I would recommend it. You learn not only about other people and cultures, but a lot about yourself.
Were you successful with the accent?
The guys on the team thought I was full of crap. I got the nickname on the team- which has stuck- “Muffin” which is short for “English Muffin.” Girls originally thought I was trying to be James Bond per se. I am not going to lie; in certain situations I tried to rock it a little bit. Eventually as it sort of faded, people realized that I was not putting it on and that my personality stayed the same. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to pull off the James Bond, probably as much as I would have liked to, but I’m not going to lie, there were situations where it did help.
What is the best taunt you have ever heard?
(Charlie became distracted and inquired about a friend, Ian Goldberg, and whether or not he was going to take a nap.)
The best taunt I have seen at Haverford was against Johns Hopkins last year. The Squirrel Squad provided everyone with yellow cards, so every time there was a foul you would see 30, no up to 100 yellow cards being waved. Our former president, President Emerson, was there. That was great. We are very fortunate to have such a strong backing with the Squirrel Squad; it truly does make a difference to those playing. It will be tough to beat last year at Swathmore for Halloween when we had twice as many fans as Swathmore. Even though the result didn’t go quite to us, the memory will stick with our players for a long time. Apparently taunts are illegal, which I disagree with, but I think we just love the noise. Whether it is the stamping, or fans getting involved, it just lifts the team.
Do you mind sharing your thoughts on the current state of the soccer team and its losing streak?
It has been tough; a lot of the goals have come late in the game. We feel like we have been the stronger team, we have had a lot of opportunities and we just haven’t converted them yet. Everyone’s spirits are still high that we can achieve our goal of reaching the Centennial Conference playoffs, but we really now need to step it up.
Could you address the lack of ability to stick it in this season?
I feel like in soccer, particularly as a striker, all you need is that one goal to get everything going. Our past couple of games we hit the crossbar and the post, and the goalie dropped the ball on the line. It is not a lack of effort; we are one of the hardest working teams around. It is not lack of drive. Sometimes you just need a bit of luck to go for you. I know that sounds cliché and people will say that is the most common answer, but I generally think that is the case. We are hoping that once it rains, it pours. David Restrepo scored a great goal against WAC and everyone was lifted up by that. We had a couple great opportunities saved by the goalie. It is definitely there, we are almost there. Part of the reason we are able to keep our high spirits is because we know we aren’t far away. It goes right the way up from the player to the coaches to the fans.
Hope Solo is currently the most famous goalie in America. How do our goalkeepers compare against her?
Everyone claims that Hope Solo is the reason why goalies have become sexy; if you have seen Haverford College Men’s Soccer you would know that we have had a strong lineage of fantastic looking goalkeepers. I would say that there are none more so than our current ones. Nick Kahn has the Southern locks. I don’t know if you are aware of this, but Hope Solo originally had blonde hair and there are striking similarities between her and Nick in terms of that. I am a big fan of Hope Solo, great hand and great personality.
The other young up and comer is Alex Morgan who is known for her striking ability and striking looks. Does she have a comparison on the team?
She does well on and off the field. I can’t believe I am going to say this and I can’t believe that you are going to write this, but I would definitely have to throw in young David Restrepo in terms of being our number one striker, he certainly prides himself in being able to score goals both on and definitely off the field as well. If I had to make a comparison I would say David. You have the pretenders who like to think that. You can put up Ford Bohrmann up there as a pretender. I hate that I am saying this; it will probably just boost his striker ego even more.
Maybe it will just be the impetus needed?
Maybe reading this before our next game he will have a new boost of confidence. He won’t miss!
Many of the other teams have a secondary mascot. We almost have a veritable zoo. Why haven’t you guys adopted a new mascot?
Just like HCMS has a wonderful tradition of excellence on the field and off the field, the black squirrel as a mascot has as well. It is more than a mascot; it is a part of our school and a part of our tradition. Even though we may not wear the black squirrel on our shirt it certainly is our mascot. We may say “Let’s go ‘Fords” in the huddle, but we respect and love our black squirrel. I don’t want to speak negatively of the other teams, but I kind of feel like you should be sticking to the school mascot. It is on a lot of shirts people wear. It embodies a lot of great things about Haverford. We are loyal to the black squirrel and are appreciative of everything it has done for us in our community and we are proud to be ambassadors of it.
How would you compare yourselves to the other teams on campus?
I only speak highly of our other athletes. I can’t help that females perceive us as one of the better looking teams; some have even thrown around the best looking team. I think that is a pretty high standard for our male athletes here. I wouldn’t say that is something we talk about as a team, but it is always nice to get a little recognition. We are hoping that not only will our good play get rewarded, but that, off the field, we are enjoyed.
What is this I hear about enjoying Kotatsu trips?
It has become a bit of tradition to go to Kotatsu as a team. We go maybe twice a year. This past Saturday we went as a team to celebrate a 21st for our captain Matt Gorski, nothing more to it. Kotatsu is a great place for team bonding and celebrating future successes.
There is talk about breaking out of the Haverbubble and possible reaching out to the Greek system?
I think there is no need to break out of the bubble. The women of the Bi-Co and Tri-Co are wonderful. We are spoiled by them. It may or may not have been the case that at Kotatsu a sorority from Villanova who also had someone who was celebrating their 21st birthday may or may not have come and joined our party. We were able to talk to a couple maybe.
I think that we were in a room that features an iPod speaker and a strobe light and as the night progressed and as the music got louder it may or may not have turned into a bit of a club. When Kotatsu saw that that was happening they decided “Why not put the strobe light down?” It was a surprise to us all and it was certainly one that we enjoyed, being in a nice environment.
Now, this is a question that I have always wondered about. Aside from Swat, do you have any true rivals?
We hate Swathmore with a passion. Soccer is the only sport which they have any respect in. They are not very good at all of the other ones and our teams destroy them. We want to emulate that. Swathmore is our number one most hated team. Whether because of tradition or because of interactions we have had with them- the past couple of years have not been the greatest. I think within the Centennial there are 10 teams but the standard of play is very high so every game is a big game. If I were to say, I think that if there were two games that we get up for would be Hopkins and F&M. Those are games that are very big and we look at them as games on our schedule we look forward to. However, I wouldn’t say that we don’t look forward to other games or that we prepare differently. You see F&M or Hopkins on the schedule, and not because of ability, but we look forward to those game. Maybe it is because people generally look forward to those games and we think that we can beat them.
At the last few games, things have gotten a bit chippy. Would you say you play a physical brand of soccer?
I would say that we are a team that is not afraid to win a ball. I wouldn’t say that are one of the more physical teams, but I would say that we do not shy away from a tackle. We don’t’ go out trying to injure people, but we won’t back down from a tackle. People know that when they play us they have to toughen up or we will run them over. I feel like particularly with our new coach, I wouldn’t say that he has toughened us up, but he has taught us that sometimes you can win a game or make a big impact by being that much more dedicated to a challenge.
Could it be the “Body by Cory?”
Cory Walts is a fantastic asset to all athletic sports at Haverford. I don’t think people realize how amazing he is in terms of the time, effort, and most importantly dedication he puts in to developing the athletes. Since my freshman year he has been phenomenal in teaching things in the gym and helping us put on muscle. We are all products of Cory Walts. People definitely know when they have been hit by a Cory body. Look at our back five- the strongest and meatiest back line in all of D-III soccer. I would have no one else in front of me and Cory has a large role.
Speaking of large roles, I hear that somebody was offered a Calvin Klein underwear modeling job?
I feel like Julien Calas would consider it, but the person best suited for it and our choice would be Dan Garfing. As a team we think that Dan Garfing is best suited for it. You think underwear model you think all around great appearance, you think Dan Garfing. Ladies, Dan Garfing. If you want to imagine what underwear to get, what plus ones, and you see a picture of Dan Garfing? You want that.
Rumors have been abounding that Haverford is a pipeline for Chippendales?
It wouldn’t surprise me if a couple people on our teams keeping that under wraps. I could see a few people doing that as a part time job in medical school or graduate school. I certainly think some people would be flattered if they were offered that job. I haven’t heard that rumor, but it wouldn’t stun me. I may not be as involved in Chippendales. I wouldn’t know anything about that.
Let’s address that for a second. During my research, I have found a profile which looks like you named -Vanilla Thunder…
Well… Mr. Thunder has no comment as to what you may or may not have been seeing on the internet. Either I have an imposter or you have found a great look-a-like.
Well Charlie thank you for your time and thank you for being a part of the inaugural edition of Squirrel Squad’s Profile of a Player.
Thank you Jixi, I appreciate it. Go Squirrels!