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April 3, 2008

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Former South Carolina men’s soccer standout goalkeeper Brad Guzan’s professional career has reached new heights in recent months. The reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and member of the United States National Team starting goalkeeper rotation, Guzan is just one of a number of former South Carolina men’s soccer players to excel in the professional ranks. recently spoke with Guzan and asked him questions about his time at South Carolina and his current position in professional soccer.

Q: What is your most memorable experience from your time at South Carolina?
A: I think being able to develop the special friendships that I still have as well as just being able to play soccer with them.

Q: Who would you say contributed most to the success of your soccer career?
A: Off the field, I would say my parents without a doubt! On the field, my club soccer coach, Mike Matkovich. They both taught me life lessons, obviously one on the field and the other off the field. My parents really allowed me to grow and get better.

Q: Who is your toughest MLS opponent?
A: Being in the Western Conference, I would have to say either the Houston Dynamo or the LA Galaxy. When we play the Galaxy it is always sold out, and the atmosphere is unbelievable.

Q: What is the most memorable save of your professional career?
A: My first year as a pro, we were playing in New England and our team was not very good. I was starting to have some doubts if I could compete at this level and then I made a few big saves, and even though we lost, I walked away knowing I could do it.

Q: What would you say to young student-athletes that strive to play professional soccer in the future?
A: To always work hard and stay focused. You never know who is watching you and if you take a day off from practice either mentally or physically, that might be the day a coach or scout from another club is watching.

Q: What is your five-year plan? Goals?
A: I have learned that in this business it is hard to control certain things, but hopefully I will be playing in Europe in the future and having a successful career. I am currently taking online classes as well, so hopefully I will have finished up my undergraduate degree.

Q: You were recently named the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. What did winning that award mean to you?
A: I think it really showed how much our team really works for one another. The guys did a great job and made my job a lot easier. The credit goes to them for working hard day in and day out.

Q: In late January you earned your first career international shutout. How does the game differ playing against international opponents?
A: Playing internationally gives you the opportunity to play against the best players around the world and with that the game is much faster. Just as the MLS is faster then college, international soccer is faster then the MLS. That is the highest level and it’s an honor to be able to represent your country.

Q: What is your next event with the U.S. National Team?
A: Hopefully, I will be able to be a part of some of the national friendlies this coming summer. You never know if you will be in or out, so I just try to get better each day and be a good professional. If I get called, great, and if not, I just try to work harder.

Q: What is your ultimate career goal in the sport of soccer?
A: I think to just have a successful career. To look back and be proud of what I was able to do in the sport, to hopefully pass some pointers on to some younger goalkeepers and walk away with my head held high.