Sept. 27, 2010
Senior defender Greg Klazura and the Irish men’s soccer team return to action on Wed., Sept. 29 in a 7:00 p.m. (CT) contest at Northwestern. He has started all seven games this season, scoring his first career goal in the 5-1 win over Cal Poly on Sept. 12. He won his first monogram as a junior last season and will graduate next May with a science pre-professional degree. Prior to this week’s action, Klazura sat down with UND.com’s Maura Jones to tell fans more about himself and his game.
How did you start playing soccer? I started playing soccer when I was five years old for the AYSO Youth Soccer Association because my older sister played soccer.
Who has been the most important person in your life? The most important person in my life would definitely be my parents, because they’re my role models and they have supported me in everything I’ve done.
Which team has presented you with the toughest challenge during a game? The team that gave us our toughest challenge would be any one of the top pro teams we played in Scandinavia. We went there this past summer and we played four teams from either the first division in Sweden or Denmark and some other really good teams.
What other activities do you participate in at Notre Dame? Last semester I taught fourth grade Spanish at St. Anthony de Padua elementary school and this semester I’m volunteering at Sister Maura Brannick Health Center.
What is the best thing that has happened to you since you have been at Notre Dame? I’ll go with another clichÃƒÆ’Â© response. The best thing that’s happened to me at Notre Dame are my teammates and friends not on the team. There are a lot of great people at Notre Dame, so it’s been great just getting to know people.
Does the team have any funny traditions or pregame rituals? We most definitely have some funny traditions and rituals, but we can’t let you know about all of them. One of them is Dillon Powers [sophomore] and I shave before every game together.
What was the best soccer game you ever played? Picking out a best personal performance is tough, but I scored my first career goal against Cal Poly. That was definitely a cool moment.
What do you hope to do after you graduate? I’m not really sure what I will do after I graduate. I might try to play soccer, I might apply to med school, or I might do a year of service. I don’t know; I’m keeping my options open.
Why did you choose Notre Dame over other schools? I chose Notre Dame because I wanted to play soccer at the highest level and I wanted to attend an elite academic institution, so Notre Dame was definitely the best place to do those two things.
What is the best part of being on a varsity team? The worst? The best parts of being on a varsity team are the teammates, just being on the team and becoming friends with my teammates. It is truly a cool experience to be on a team with a bunch of your friends. The worst part is just time commitment. You’re always pressed for time.
What is something that fans wouldn’t know about you? My go-to fun fact that people don’t know about me is that I was born in the same town as Johnny Appleseed who was a real person.
What is the biggest obstacle that you have overcome? The biggest soccer obstacle was probably not playing in my first few years. I would definitely say advanced general chemistry was my biggest academic obstacle.
How do you get pumped for a game? The whole team gets pumped up for a game by always going to Boss’ house and eat pancakes. Once we get into the locker room we have a playlist that we listen to and jam out.
What has been the biggest lesson you have learned at Notre Dame, in class or on the field? The biggest lesson that I have learned at Notre Dame is that you can’t do it on your own. If you think you’re going to get through a class without studying with people who are smarter than you it’s not going to work out. If you think you’re going to be a good soccer player without listening to your coaches or relying on your teammates you’re not. You can’t do it on your own.
How do you manage your sport and school work? I manage sports and school with good time management and you have to get your sleep. If you start losing sleep everything starts to unravel. That’s one thing I figured out freshman year.
What is the best place you have traveled with the team? The best place we traveled to was Scandinavia this past summer. We stayed in the southern part of Sweden and played games in Denmark and Sweden. We were there for two weeks. That was really a lot of fun.
Do you have any other hobbies? My other hobbies are that I love to snow ski and water ski.
How does it feel to be a senior? Is this going to be your last year playing or are you going to try for another? Being a senior is pretty scary. The unknown is always kind of scary, and I don’t know if I’m going to play next year or not. That’s something that the coaches are still trying to figure out. I would definitely be open to playing.
What is one thing that you would like to tell your teammates as you begin what might be your final season? I would like to tell my teammates don’t take any of the time you have for granted. It goes fast.
What is your main goal this year personally and for the team? Personally, my main goal would be to play every game well, to play consistently. I feel like I’m a good player, but I think everyone struggles with playing every game well. As far as a team goal, we want to win a national cham