On The Pitch With Rylan Hawkins

Aug. 17, 2006

Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Rylan Hawkins has big expectations for the UW men's soccer team this season. Fighting for a starting spot in the net, Hawkins spent the summer working out and gearing up for what he hopes to be the start of a new legacy for Husky men's soccer. The team kicks off its season at home against UC Davis on Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. at Husky Soccer Field. Hawkins sat down with GoHuskies.com to talk about the upcoming season, his personal goals and what it's been like to compete for a starting spot.

GoHuskies.com: What are your thoughts on the upcoming season?
Rylan Hawkins: 'I'm excited. This year it just seems like the team chemistry is working. Practices are really intense, and we are all coming together. Positions are starting to form. We are solid up front, the back is looking great and we are figuring things out in the midfield. I'm excited to get out there and test it out and see where we are at.'

GH: What did you learn from watching (graduated starting goalkeeper) Chris Eylander last season?
RH: 'I learned a lot. The first thing was the speed of the game. Coming out of high school the jump in terms of how quick the ball is moving is intense. Secondly, Chris is really dedicated. He was a hard worker and very strict.'

GH: What is it like to compete for a starting spot?
RH: 'It's been pretty good. Both guys have been coming out and playing well and it just will come down to who is playing well that week before the game and how well you do when you start playing. We are all right there competing for that spot so it's exciting. It also makes for a lot more interesting practice sessions. None of us are really getting mad at each other, but instead it has been really dynamic and we are pushing each other.'

GH: What are your personal goals for the season?
RH: 'My personal goal is to be part of something special. We have this motto now that we want to be the start of a legacy. I just want to be a part of that, and leave something for other things to come. I still have four more years, so if we could start something now it could just grow from here. That's what a legacy is about- starting a program that will stick around for awhile.'

GH: What did you do over the summer?
RH: 'I stayed around here taking a computer science class. I came down and worked out quite a bit, and also coached at the camps around here. I really just wanted to get as much soccer in as I could. I played for a local team as well, and helped take them to the nationals.'

GH: You were highly touted out of high school- what made you choose Washington?
RH: 'I looked at the academic stuff and the soccer just came together, and it seemed like a pretty great place. Everything just fit.'

GH: How important was getting playing time during the spring season?
RH: 'It really just gave me experience. It's all about experience when it comes to goalkeepers, which is why keepers peak at a much later age than field players. Every game I came in I picked something up. You start to flow with the team and see how guys play on the field.'

GH: What do you do when you aren't playing soccer?
RH: 'I'm actually helping out a friend of mine with an Internet startup, so that's one of the biggest things I am doing right now.'

GH: What is something about you that no one would know?
RH: 'I had a rat tail until fifth grade or so.'

GH: Does anyone on the team have any weird or hidden talents?
RH: 'George John is a Greek dancer. I've seen him dance and he's pretty good at it, and he's competed nationally for it.'

GH: Who on the team will surprise people this year?
RH: 'George John. Last year he had an okay season, but wasn't quite used to it. Out on the field right now he just looks great. He has size, know-how, he's quick to the ball and he just has soccer smarts. He is going to be big-time.'

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