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Keeping Up With The Pros: Dillon Powers

On the fourth episode of Keeping Up With The Pros, we caught up with midfielder Dillon Powers, who is currently playing for Dundee United FC, the current leader of the Scottish Championship. In his professional career, Powers has received over 150 caps in the MLS, with the majority of those coming with the Colorado Rapids.

Powers was a two-time captain during his time at Notre Dame and earned NSCAA First Team All-America status following his prolific senior season. The midfielder finished with 10 goals and 22 assists over his collegiate career. Powers helped the Irish win the 2012 Big East championship in his senior season and helped the team advance to the round of 16 in the NCAA Championships.

Powers was drafted 11th overall in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft by the Colorado Rapids and made an instant impact, taking home MLS Rookie of the Year honors.

Opening Statement: This is my submission for the ‘Keeping Up With The Pros’ series. I’m Dillon Powers, Class of 2013 and I currently play in Dundee, Scotland for Dundee United. So, here we go.

Q: Why did you choose Notre Dame?

A: I think it’s easy to be sold by the soccer program and the academic combination. I think at the end of the day what was the kicker for me was just my conversations with Bobby Clark and the way he talked about the school and the program with all the esteem, and I just kind of remember walking away from it feeling like this is a really special place, this is an important place and this is a place where I can really kind of do great things and move on to do great things from here. So, I think that conversation really sold it for me. 

Q: What is your favorite memory of the ND men’s soccer program?

A: I think making the ‘Join the Chain’ video for the Oscars—everyone has to submit a video each year and we used to—and we decided to kind of do a riff off the Joga Bonito series. It was really cool because we got to go around campus and we recruited all these other athletes, not just from our own team but from all these other teams to kind of participate in these little chain videos where the ball kind of moves from one frame to the other. It’s a pretty cool video and I think it ended up winning the video of the year for that year, so that was a really fun experience. Fun making it and putting it together. 

Q: How did Notre Dame prepare you for your career?

A: I think a lot of people, at least during that time, were kind of criticizing the college game as not necessarily a good place for development, but I don’t think they could realize how professionally run our program was. I felt like I had a rather seamless transition from my time in college to professional because in some ways it kind of felt like we were run like a professional team. I’m really thankful for that, I think it really prepared me to go on to a quick transition—not just on the field, but off the field too because you really have to learn these good habits around maintaining balance and getting things done and also just having a life off the field. I think that’s an important part of being a professional player is being able to sort out your personal life too, so I think that helped me out a lot. 

Q: What was your favorite spot on ND’s campus or what is your favorite thing about the campus?

A: I love the dining halls, partly just for going as a group and having fun and eating a meal, just observing everyone else. It’s just kind of the space where everyone convenes. Obviously the campus is beautiful and I love walking around, there’s certain spots on campus I love to go sit, but I think just kind of yucking it up in the dining hall for me is one of my favorite memories.

Q: Share with us a funny story about you and your teammates.

A: Well, we went to Sweden for our kind of trip abroad and there was all kinds of fun stories from that trip, but we stayed at this place called Pensionat Maglarp I think it was called and it was kind of like a big house and I don’t know how many of us, like 20 kids plus staff, and so early on there started like a prank war between different classes and that kind of lingered on for a while, that was pretty funny. And then also there happened to be this like ‘foot golf’ course outside just in the backyard, like a smaller one, not like proper golf holes but like a small, almost like a putt-putt, and guys, specifically Will Walsh and Craig Krzyskowski, they would put on a proper uniform and take it very seriously. That was a fun time, I really enjoyed that trip.

Q: What’s your favorite soccer memory as a player and as a fan growing up?

A: I think scoring my first professional goal was a pretty surreal and awesome experience. I remember for me, it was a moment I’ll never forget, just watching the—it felt like it was in slow motion just watching it—it was like a half-volley from pretty far out and I just remember watching it go in the corner, and it was just like I said, it was surreal. It’s kind of hard to even describe, but that was a pretty special memory as a player. Then as a fan growing up, I think just watching the World Cup, especially supporting the United States. I think every time I watch it I turn into a kid again and just wanted to win so badly and start pacing around the room and all that. So, I think those are two things that stick out for me.

Q: What have you been doing to keep busy during self-distancing?

A: I’ve been meditating a lot to pass the time, and not just to pass the time but I think it’s a really good daily habit and I enjoy it quite a bit, and doing a lot of reading too. I think those are some of the best habits you can try to employ. Obviously, the other is trying to just avoid the kitchen and not eat too much during this period because we’re not really training as hard as we would be and not sure when our season will resume, if it does.

Q: What is a talent or skill you want to develop during self-distancing?

A: Well, I’ve always had a guitar and I’ve been pretty bang average at it for like seven or eight years. So, I have one here and I’ve been playing it, trying to play it daily and actually trying to get proficient at it, so I’m really trying to come out of this self-distancing with a much better level of proficiency at the guitar. So, that’s my focus right now, that’s what’s keeping me busy and I’m just trying to stay healthy, stay sane and stay happy. So yeah, that’s all I’ve got.