Q & A With Husky Sophomore Leo Totev

Sept. 18, 2003

GoHuskies.com: How is the season going for you so far?

Leo Totev: 'It has been going great. I didn't start that much in spring season, but now I think it is great to have a starting position. I have probably the best position on the field in offensive mid. I am really happy about that and I am really glad to be back.

GH: What is so great about being an offensive midfielder?

Totev: 'I think the best thing is that you are always facing the goal when you get the ball. You are always able to get a lot of shooting opportunities. Just being able to score a lot of goals from my position.'

GH: How was your summer vacation in Norway?

Totev: 'It was great. I worked at home for an entrepreneur firm. Being home with my family again, I haven't seen them in seven months, was great. Two months there playing some good level soccer in Norway was perfect for me.'

GH: What is the difference between playing soccer in Norway as opposed to in the U.S.?

Totev: 'The level that I played in Norway is not much different. I would say that a lot more experienced players, older players play in Norway. At this level of soccer (in the U.S.) there are a lot of younger players that are more fit. We train a lot more here than back in Norway.'

GH: You served a year in the Royal Norwegian Air Force. How was that?

Totev: 'It is mandatory there, but it was great. The first four months of boot camp were very tough, but I learned a lot about other people and growing up being a man. It was quite the experience, being pulled from home, having to be away from your family and your girlfriend. After a couple of weeks you get to know people and it is just great. The last nine or ten months of my air force service I served at the Institute of Aviation Medicine and that was just perfect flying flight simulators all day and testing pilots for medical purposes. The total experience was just perfect.

GH: So did you like having to join the military or would you rather have the option like people do in the U.S.?

Totev: 'I would probably prefer the option, but since I have already done it doesn't really matter. It was great for me, but it doesn't work for everybody. I lost a year playing full-time soccer. But, then again I had a whole lot of experiences that I won't get anywhere else.'

GH: What made you decide to leave Norway to come to the U.S.?

Totev: 'My dad moved here ten years ago and that enabled me to get a green card. I thought this is a great opportunity, why not take it before I'm 21. It was two months before my birthday when I got here and since then it has been great. The first six months whenever you move to a new country are difficult, because you have to learn a new language. You have to learn how other people behave, different cultures, but after the first couple of months everything worked out.'

GH: Did you speak much English before you came here?

Totev: 'All of the Scandinavian languages are very similar so I can speak or recognize Swedish, Danish and Norwegian. I have studied a lot of other languages four years of German and two years of Spanish. I have also studied English since the fourth or fifth grade. I love languages, so it wasn't hard for me to start speaking English full-time. Of course there is the transitional phase where you learn all of the words and the vocabulary. I learned English, this is American right, and there is a big difference.'

GH: Leo Totev doesn't sound very Norwegian. Where did you get that name?

Totev: 'I am half Bulgarian and half Norwegian. I lived in Bulgaria for part of my life and that is where I got my name.'

GH: What are your goals for this season?

Totev: 'Starting as many games as possible, scoring as many goals as possible and helping to make the team win. I also want to go far in the NCAA tournament.'

GH: If you could do one thing before you die what would it be?

Totev: 'I really haven't thought about that one because I don't want to die yet. I will have some time to think about that one. Danny Waltman said something about skydiving, but I think scuba diving or maybe riding a roller coaster in Las Vegas. Wait, bungee jumping or scuba diving that is what I would do.'

GH: Where did you get the hairstyle?

Totev: 'It wasn't my idea, it was Danny Waltman's. I am a sophomore, but since it is my first year with the Huskies he told me I have to shave it. I don't want to be a skinhead so he suggested a Mohawk. I got the Mohawk and kept it, because everyone loved it. I will keep it for a while, until it grows out, and we will see what happens. We will see if I keep scoring goals and maybe I will keep it.'

GH: So it could be a good luck charm?

Totev: 'It could be, I don't know yet. We'll see.'

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