On The Pitch With Ty Harden

Oct. 25, 2006

The Husky men's soccer team plays its final regular season home game on Friday, which means it will be the last time senior Ty Harden takes the pitch during the regular season at Husky Soccer Field. Harden, a three-time All-Pac-10 player and all-region honoree, has been the backbone of the UW defense the last four years. The senior leader and captain of this year's squad, he will be honored in a special pregame ceremony prior to Friday's match versus Gonzaga, along with fellow seniors Matt Fischer and Mike Cusenza. Harden took some time to talk to GoHuskies.com this week, to reflect on his UW career and how the season has gone so far.

GoHuskies.com: UCLA was shutout for only the second time all season when you played the Bruins on Sunday, how do you feel about the team's performance?
Ty Harden: 'I think that we played great defensively. I think starting with Kevin and Ely at top, they were doing a little more defensive work than they were used to; they filled that role really well. Derek and George at the center midfield also played defensively great. Our back four's shape and the team's shape was the best it was all season by far. I think a lot of that can be attributed to some of the extra work we have been doing with Rich (Reece, assistant coach) and we have been watching some extra film. I feel like that has been paying off a lot.'

G.H: Do you feel like this was the team's best defensive performance on the season?
TH: 'I think so, I think we all feel that way.'

G.H.: Against UCLA you were forced to match up against some smaller forwards, was that an advantage?
TH: 'That has been a change, the last few games we have been matching up against bigger stronger forwards. It is a little different. I don't think that UCLA's smaller forwards are real forwards. It is a little bit easier for us. They are usually a little bit better on the ball and a little quicker than the bigger forwards. But it is easier for the center backs to push them off the ball a little bit and win the physical battle easier, which is nice.'

G.H.: Last season the team came back from being down 2-1 and scored two goals in the last five minutes to win the match versus Gonzaga. Do you feel like they will be seeking some revenge on Friday?
TH: 'I think they are. When we play Gonzaga they always come out fired up and ready to play. It is a really big rivalry and I think they definitely have something to prove being in the same state. They always come fired up when they play us.'

G.H.: Is it different competing against the other teams from the northwest?
TH: 'It is a little different. Especially since a lot of guys from our team and a lot of guys from their team are from the northwest and know each other from the past. I think both sides come out trying to prove that we are the best northwest team and we get the best northwest players. So it is a little bit of a special game.'

G.H.: Is the team looking forward to post season play, or still taking one game at a time?
TH: 'We are still trying to prove that we belong in the post season. We all know that we belong there and we all have visions of postseason success. We are just trying to take one game at a time.'

G.H.: Do you foresee a deep postseason run?
TH: 'I do, I think we all foresee a deep post season run. That has been our goal since the beginning of the season.'

G.H.: How does it feel to play your last regular season home game on Friday?
TH: 'The last regular season home game, it is going to be really special. Senior night, it just reminds me of when I was a freshman and looking up to seniors then, Danny Waltman and Troy Ready, and thinking that is never going to be me. It is crazy how quick it flies by and even this Friday I can't believe that it will be my last home game. It just hasn't sunk in yet.'

G.H.: Do you have family and friends coming to the game on Friday?
TH: 'My parents have actually come to almost every game, so they are going to be here again. I have had a bunch of family; my aunts and uncles have been to a lot of games. No one else, just my parents will be there. They do a special ceremony before the game which will be nice.'

G.H.: Do you have family in Oregon that will attend the Oregon St. game?
TH: 'My parents moved to Reno but I have a lot of close friends (in Oregon). My hometown is like twenty minutes from Corvallis, so it is always a special game. I always have a bunch of family and friends that are there. It is a little bit different for me for sure.'

G.H.: Do you have any memorable on the field moments during your career?
TH: 'Sunday was a pretty good on the field moment; no one that is here or anyone that is in my class has beat UCLA at home. That was pretty special for us.'

G.H.: Can you sum up your experience at the UW in a couple words?
TH: 'I have loved every second of it here. I have never looked back or regretted my decision to come to UW.'

G.H.: Some of the guys on the team have some pretty unique hobbies; do you have any off the field pastimes?
TH: 'I am kind of a loser. I don't have any cool hobbies. I was reading Ely's QA, they always play Nintendo and have plenty of stuff to say. I was thinking if I got asked I would have nothing. All I do is school and soccer.'

G.H.: What are you going to get your degree in?
TH: 'My degree is business marketing.'

G.H.: What are your plans after soccer?
TH: 'After soccer, hopefully my soccer career is a few more years; I am trying to do the pro thing. After that as far as a career, I am really not sure. I want to do something involving helping people, I am sure of a specific field.'

G.H.: Maybe something involving marketing for a charitable foundation?
TH: 'Something like that would be really cool. My dad is a director for GoodWill and that has been a big part of my life, just helping people. My mom has her masters in social services, it has been a big part of my life.'

G.H.: Have you been involved with the GoodWill foundation through your dad over the years?
TH: 'I have not done a lot with GoodWill myself, I have always been around it because my Dad is actually a consultant for GoodWill. I have always been around it and been around their mission statement and stuff like that but I haven't done a lot of direct work.'

G.H.: What is the process like of applying for the MLS draft?
TH: 'Just like a lot of other sports there is a combine that 60 seniors get invited to, which Dean has told me I should get invited to if the season keeps on going well. From there 45 players get drafted, which I am hoping to be one of those obviously. After that, there are still a lot of players that get picked up. There is a supplemental draft that is actually a couple of days after that, which is a little less formal than the actual draft but it is kind of the same thing. After that a lot of the pro teams go and train for about a month in Florida. So there a lot of opportunities there to get tryouts and get signed that way. A lot of people do that.'

G.H.: Is the combine a speed and skill test?
TH: 'It is a lot of that but it is mostly like you just play like four of five games in a week or so, that is the biggest thing there.'

G.H.: What are you going to be for Halloween?
TH: 'I am not sure yet, hopefully something cool. We are away on Saturday when a lot of the costume stuff is happening. I am going to try and dress up and do something when I get back.'

G.H.: How are Raphael Cox and Steve Mohn as roommates?
TH: 'It is good. Raph, when he moved in I told him that I would move in with him if he kept my computer updated with the newest songs. He is doing a pretty good job at that; he is always in charge of the music. There is always something going on, there are always people coming over to listen to music and stuff like that.'

G.H.: What are you guys doing for food?
TH: 'We eat out, Pizza Ragazzi almost every day.'

G.H.: Five-dollar pizza at five o'clock?TH: 'Yeah Pizza Ragazzi or Teriyaki First right next to it, those are the go-to spots.'

G.H.: Well, good luck this weekend.
TH: 'Thanks!'

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