Q & A with Clare Rustad

Oct. 13, 2004

Gohuskies.com: Your team hasn't competed in Seattle since September 3rd. What does it feel like to finally be home for a game?

CR: 'Amazing is the word for it. Five weeks on the road was hard. It probably only did us good, but it's nice to know that we will have a home crowd behind us. We've had great fans on the road, amazing fans on the road. But, it will be nice to have home fans for once.'

Gohuskies.com: What helped you make it through the long road stretch and still put together a 9-2-1 record?

CR:'It was just really good team chemistry. Our team works really well together. It's amazing how well the classes mix and just really get along. That helped enormously. We could have really gotten on each other's nerves, but I don't think it started to get to that point.'

Gohuskies.com: How have you handled the switch from midfielder to defender for the Huskies, a position you played for the Canadian National Team?

CR: 'It's a lot more fun than playing defender for the national team. On the national team, you just kick the ball and head the ball. That's all you do. Here we get to play the ball around a little bit. It's a lot of fun. I really like it. The other defenders have made it really easy for me, telling me what to do. Usually it's Smitty (Kelli Smith). Every game, I do something stupid and I hear Smitty yell 'Clare.' I'm like, 'Okay, I won't do that again.''

Gohuskies.com: You and senior Kelli Smith are the veterans back there. Until Nicole Martinez returned recently, you had a couple freshman defenders back there with you. How did they handle the adjustment to college soccer?

CR: 'They were amazing. They just jumped right in with both feet and did so well. It was great. It was like you had two other veterans back there so it was good.'

Gohuskies.com: What is it like to have Nicole Martinez back in the lineup after returning from her injury?

CR: 'It's great. I played with Nicole back there last spring and the spring before. We kind of got to work really well together. We're roommates this year too.'

Gohuskies.com: How has Nicole handled being sidelined most of this season with the injury after being a full-time starter her first three years?

CR: 'It was hard for her. I don't think I ever heard her complain once. She's in the training room doing everything she could possibly do to get it better. I'm glad she's back.'

Gohuskies.com: Has Nicole fully recovered from her injury?

CR: 'It's really hard to tell because she'll never say. You ask her how she's doing and she'll say 'You know, alright.' I ask if she can go on the weekend and she says, 'yeah.''

Gohuskies.com: Would you comment on last weekend's road trip to Arizona where you tied Arizona State 3-3 and lost to Arizona 3-1?

CR: 'I really don't know what happened. It's hard to say and it's hard to pick exactly one thing out. It's kind of a combination of factors. We still have a great record and hopefully we can build on that this weekend. That's kind of what we're going for.'

Gohuskies.com: What do you do to re-group this week?

CR: 'We just kind of need to set our focus again. We need to calm down a little bit and just relax. I think we just need to get our confidence back and that's what this week of practice will do.'

Gohuskies.com: Are Pac-10 Conference games more intense than non-conference games? Is there a difference?

CR: 'The Pac-10 play is enormous. I think it's just because you want to beat your conference teams just that much more. Preseason play is huge, but Pac-10 play means a lot. It's always exciting to play conference games. Teams just really seem to go at it a little more.'

Gohuskies.com: Washington is ranked No. 7 by Soccer America. Do you pay attention to the national polls?

CR: 'Sometimes. It comes up in practice every now and then when someone says that they saw it. For us, that's great. That's really cool, but we still have games to play and that No. 7 isn't really going to help you much unless you can prove it on the field.'

Gohuskies.com: This is the first season that you have not missed any time during the UW season, either preseason practice or games, due to commitments with the Canadian National Team. How has this season been different because of that?

CR: 'I don't know if bonded is too cliché of a word, but it's true. I kind of bonded better with everybody, even the people in my class who I didn't get to play with as much in years past. It's awesome. It's so much fun.'

Gohuskies.com: What are your plans after the soccer season?

CR: 'Oh, wow. I'm applying for med school right now, so that's what's taking up my time. I'm applying for a Rhode's Scholarship as well, so I'm going to see how that goes for next year. I've got to finish school, that's a big one.'

Gohuskies.com: Long range, what do you want to pursue career-wise?

CR: 'Pediatrics, I think. I would use the Rhode's Scholarship, if I got that, for research. So I would be doing an epidemiology or infectious disease thing.'

Gohuskies.com: Lastly, is there anything you want to say to Washington soccer fans who haven't seen you since your last home game 41 days ago?

CR: 'There is a women's soccer team at Washington. There is one, trust me. We've been away for so long it may not seem like it. I just hope we get a really big crowd this weekend. That would be great.'

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