Q & A With Freshman Matt Van Houten

Sept. 6, 2007

The Husky men's soccer team continues its season-opening five-match road trip at Gonzaga, Friday. The Huskies kicked off the 2007 campaign by winning the Nike Portland Invitational last weekend. Midfielder Matt Van Houten was one of two true freshmen to get a starting nod in both of the Huskies' matches, picking up his first career point with an assist during UW's 5-1 win over Cal State Bakersfield. Van Houten sat down with GoHuskies.com this week to talk about his first two games at Washington and how he's adjusting to collegiate soccer.

GoHuskies.com: You were one of two freshmen to start each of the team's games this past weekend down in Portland. How does it feel already being a starter when you haven't even started school yet?
Matt Van Houten: 'I came into the preseason just hoping I could make a name for myself, hoping that I could start out strong. Obviously it feels great to have started in those two games. We'll see how it goes, but it feels great to play as a freshman.'

GH: You also had an assist this weekend.
MVH: 'It was actually one of my goals to get on the stat sheet. I'm an attacking player so I score and set up goals, so getting an assist in that second game was pretty big.'

GH: You've played both midfield and forward- which do you prefer?
MVH: 'Probably playing midfield. Just wherever they put me. It's been a good suit for me.'

GH: How did it feel to play in Portland this weekend, your hometown?
MVH: 'I definitely had all of my family there to support me. We went to my house once to get a home-cooked meal. It was great to play at my home.'

GH: What are the differences you've noticed between college soccer and high school and youth club teams?
MVH: 'I think the main thing is that it's faster. More physical and there are a lot better players. Everybody is a top of the line player. There's not just one guy that you can just go at and take him out. Everybody's strong. In college soccer, anything can happen at any time. All of the teams are strong enough that there can be huge upsets.'

GH: Are the upperclassmen on the team taking you in, teaching you what they know?
MVH: 'This year, we stayed with the upperclassmen for two weeks during the summer. I was with Derek Crismier. He was a great host. All of the upperclassmen have been great this year. They've just been supportive mostly. It's tough to come in here as a freshman when you're a little scared and not totally confident. I'm just trying to figure it all out, and to have their support has been huge.'

GH: Were you nervous during your first game?
MVH: 'A little. In the first game I played, it was mostly get it, get rid of it as quick as I could. In the second game I settled down a little more.'

GH: Were you surprised that you started in the games this weekend?
MVH: 'Throughout the week, I'd been in the starting lineup. So it wasn't a huge surprise. But getting into the initial starting lineup was a surprise. I had been playing well, but I wasn't expecting to come in and just go right into it.'

GH: Getting away from soccer, what do you like to do when you're not playing?
MVH: 'Pretty much anything to do with sports. That's my thing. Right now in the dorms it's just a bunch of food and tv.'

GH: What dorm are you in?
MVH: 'McCarty.'

GH: What have you learned about college life so far?
MVH: 'It's been kind of weird because soccer is the main thing right now. It takes up so much time anyway. We're in the dorms all night, so it's just hanging out time right now.'

GH: How are you liking Seattle so far?
MVH: 'I love Seattle. I have a lot of relatives here. It's a really nice city.'

GH: Even though you haven't started school yet, do you know what major you want to work towards?
MVH: 'I'm looking into education. I've got a lot of teachers in the family, so that's what I'm going towards.'

GH: Did you play any other sports growing up?
MVH: 'I played baseball. Baseball and soccer were my two sports. I played baseball up until high school, junior high. That was my second sport.'

GH: How are you feeling about the upcoming Husky soccer season?
MVH: 'I'm excited to see how we can do. We have a great team. It's going to be a great season. Hopefully I can keep it up and get some more stats on the stat sheet. We have an amazing team this year, so we should be able to go pretty far.'

GH: Any particular game you're looking forward to during the season?
MVH: 'I'm definitely looking forward to playing against Portland in a couple weeks. I've got some friends on that team and I was recruited by Portland so I know all of the coaches. It'll be a fun game to play in. Many of the games we're playing this season are against Top-25 teams. I'm looking forward to the huge games and the excitement of the fans.'

GH: Is UW living up to what you hoped it would be?
MVH: 'It definitely is. I love Seattle and I love the school. If I didn't play soccer here, this could be the place anyway because I like it so much.'

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