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Quarantine Q&A with Eric Iloski

Sep 9, 2020

In the seventh installment of Quarantine Q&A, catch up with Eric Iloski of the UCLA men's soccer team. Iloski enters the 2020-21 campaign as one of the most experienced players on the team, and will serve as a senior leader on the squad in year two under head coach Ryan Jorden. As a junior in 2019, Iloski recorded career-highs in goals (2), assists (4), and points (8) while playing a variety of roles including fullback, winger, and midfielder.
Q: What is it about Soccer that made you want to play?
A: As soon as I was able to walk, my Dad got me into the game. My brothers were also in love with playing and as we developed through our youth, we got competitive playing and feel deeper in love with the game.
Q:When did you know you wanted to come to UCLA?
A: My junior year of high school. I knew around this time that I had the ability to play for UCLA and began talking with them. Also, after watching my brother Brian play for UCLA, I knew I wanted to play here because it was one of the best college soccer environments I had seen in the U.S.
Q: At what point in your early playing career did you realize that you could compete in Soccer at the collegiate level?
A: Once I got to a certain age, around 16, I knew I was good enough to play at a college like UCLA but it was about getting other people to see that.
Q: Where is the most interesting place the sport of Soccer has taken you?
A: Barcelona. I was 13 years old at the time and I participated in a club tournament there. The tourney was loaded with great teams and players from around the world. It was an eye-opening experience as we got to see a Barcelona-Real Madrid game and see how different the culture is in Europe. Overall, it was one of my favorite soccer experiences ever.
Q: Do you have any tricks or routines you do before a match?
A: I get to the locker room early and take my time getting ready. I spend time in the training room stretching and mentally preparing for game time.
Q: With the events of COVID-19 taking place, what sort of extracurricular activities and hobbies have you been able to partake in?
A: I have been perfecting my skills in the kitchen. Also, I have been playing lots of board games lately, which gives me an opportunity to compete against (and beat) my siblings.
Q: What are you studying at UCLA and why? Can you please share your interests in a potential career beyond Soccer and what spurred you in that direction?
A: I am majoring in sociology, but I am really interested in something related to business/finance!
Q: What has it been like being able to play with your older brothers, Brian and Milan, and attend the same university as well?
A: It's been an amazing experience! I still remember some of the games we had and really miss sharing the pitch with them. Brian was super helpful during the transition to college for Milan and I, so we remain grateful for that. It went by way too fast and I hope to play with them again soon.
Q: As you prepped for your senior season, can you discuss some of the adversities you faced during your quarantine? How has your experience differed from that of your brothers, who are now playing professionally in MLS and USL?
A: The only adversity I have really faced is my brothers got their seasons started back up before I did. Before their seasons got going again, I was having top notch training sessions with them. The hard part now is training on my own and that's where the adversity began, when their seasons started back up.
Q: What was it like last season being able to help your team out by playing multiple positions over the course of the year?
A: It was a little bit of a learning curve. I hadn't ever played where I mainly played last season so it was a learning process throughout the year. Having said that, I'm excited to apply what I learned from last year and perform to a special level this upcoming season.
Q: How do you feel about the postponement of the upcoming 2020 men's soccer season to after the calendar year?
A: It's not a problem for us! Hopefully we are able to train with no limitations soon so that we are able to work on our system and integrate the newcomers. We have been wanting a later start time than the fall so that we are able to get the entire team together and begin training as a team. Usually, we don't have enough time to implement our system to the freshman and transfers, so having this extra time will be great to get on the same page with the entire roster.
Q: What is your best UCLA memory?
A: Scoring the game winning goal at home against SDSU my freshman year with my brothers getting the assists. We put SDSU in the Iloski blender and I was able to get the final touch that hit the back of the net.

Previous Quarantine Q&As
Alex Olesinski - Men's Basketball
Abi Altick - Women's Tennis
Savvy Simo - Beach Volleyball
Dakota Stanly - Track & Field
Shea Pitts - Football
Lauren Brzykcy - Women's Soccer