On The Pitch With George John

Nov. 13, 2008

Senior midfielder George John will be wrapping up his Husky soccer career Friday when UW hosts Oregon State in the team's regular season finale. But it will be a bittersweet Senior Night for John who will end his career missing the last five matches due to a knee injury. John has been an important leader on and off the field for UW during his four-year career, also helping the Huskies to back-to-back trips to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2006 and 2007. A preseason candidate for the 2008 Hermann Trophy, John also entered his senior year as a two-time All-Pac-10 and two-time All-Region selection. John still has a promising future in soccer with the hopes of playing professionally. This week he took some time to talk to GoHuskies.com about his final season and what might lie ahead for him.

GoHuskies.com: 'These last few weeks have probably been pretty frustrating for you, having to watch from the sidelines. How are you holding up and what have you been doing to help the team from an off-the-field leadership standpoint?
GJ: 'Earlier on in my injury I was kind of feeling bummed out about what was going on, the end of my career pretty much. I try to find ways to stay positive and help the team out off the field. It's been a new role for me really because this is the first time in my career that I have sat on the bench. I've been a starter so I've been able to see a new perspective of the team, help out off the field and be a cheerleader for the guys.'

GH:'How is your rehab going on the knee? Is it about where you expected it to be?
GJ: 'Rehab is going alright. It was projected six to eight weeks for me to come back, but I guess that I'm ahead of schedule. Hopefully in two weeks, I will be able to train again soccer-wise. I just started running last week so it's coming along slowly but surely.'

GH: Will it be a bittersweet Senior Night for you on Friday?
GJ: 'Definitely, it's been pretty disappointing year for the team overall so I definitely would like to do the season over again if I could but you can't go back. Definitely bittersweet but I have a lot great memories there, had a lot of fun times and I played with a lot of great players. It being my last game and I can't even play, it's a bummer but at the same time it will be a fun game.'

GH: Will you have many family members and friends there to celebrate with you?
GJ: 'Absolutely, my parents come to every game. I have a lot of family that usually comes to every game also.'

GH: Talk about your fellow seniors Raphael Cox and Josh Swett. What have each of them brought to the team, no matter the length of their careers?
GJ: 'Josh came in during the last year so he's kind of a new guy, but you could tell that he was an experienced player and one of the more mature guys on the team. I think he just brought another senior onto the team with another mature attitude and point of view on how to play the game. And Raph, this is his third year and he's just always been a leader and a great player on the field so guys look up to him off the field as well.'

GH: What are the team's goals for the regular season finale with Oregon State? What will be the keys to a win?
GJ: 'We just have to win. It's all heart. We are both out of the playoffs pretty much right now. We beat them the first go around down in Corvallis, so, I guess our goal is just to beat them again convincingly.'

GH: 'It's been an up and down year for the team...What can you take from your senior season? What about it will be the most memorable?
GJ: 'Not a whole lot. I wish we would have had a chance to make the playoffs so that I could get back in there with the team. It's been a pretty disappointing year for me all around. One of my memorable moments was scoring the game-winning goal in the 87th minute against Fullerton. Also, just being with the guys and the camaraderie that we had all year long, I am going to miss that definitely.'

GH: This year's team is young with four freshmen starting a good portion of the year. Does that bode well for the future?
GJ: 'Absolutely, I think the future is bright for Husky soccer. This year, I call it a fluke season. We weren't projected high in the beginning of the season. Once we started playing games, I think people recognized that we were a good squad and got unlucky down the road.'

GH: Who do you think will take on your leadership torch so to speak next year?
GJ: 'I think Stephen Fung is a proven leader. He and Taylor Hoss are co-captains right now, since I have been out they have chosen a couple new guys. Also, I think Dylan Tucker-Gangnes has got tremendous ability on the field as well as off and I think he is going to be a bright star in the future.

GH: Where do you set your sights now? Will you be getting ready for the MLS combine?
GJ: 'Definitely my goal is to right now play professional soccer. I'm going to rehab my knee as well as I can and get it ready for the senior combine and go wherever that takes me.'

GH: With a new MLS team in Seattle playing its first season next year, is it a goal or a dream of yours to play for the Sounders?

GJ: 'Absolutely, it was just a dream of mine to play college soccer. Now that I have the opportunity to play professional that is a dream of mine as well. I would love to play anywhere, but playing in Seattle would definitely be a great fit, playing close to home and I would be able to finish up my degree,'

GH: Have you kept in contact with any of your former teammates who have gone pro? Have they given you any advice on what it takes and what to expect at the next level?

GJ: 'I have talked to [former Husky striker] Ely Allen on and off for the past year and he's having a great time down in L.A. with the Galaxy. He doesn't really have too many negative things to say about the professional life.'

GH: You're a business major. Beyond soccer, what other career interests might you have? A dream job perhaps?

GJ: 'That's a good question. To be honest, I haven't really thought about it that much because I have been so focused on soccer, that's my passion right now. But if I had to choose a dream job, maybe being a sports agent. That would be pretty cool.'

GH: You've been very active in community service with your church and other organizations. Is that something you hope to continue?

GJ: 'Definitely. I've been a member of a local Greek-American youth organization called the Sons of Pericles. We do a lot of things for the local Greek community, Greek-American community. I definitely hope that whatever city I go to I would like to stay in touch with the Greek-Americans in that town. And also with local soccer youth, I definitely want to get involved with youth soccer and make sure the sport keeps becoming more popular around the country.'

GH: Thanks for the taking the time to talk to GoHuskies.com and good luck in the future!
GJ: 'Thanks!'

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