Having just wrapped up his rookie season in New England, Tyler Polak checks in to talk about his experience with the Revolution so far.
When did you know that you wanted to be a professional soccer player?
Tyler Polak: Since I’ve been playing soccer. It’s always been my dream.
When did you know that you could actually achieve that dream?
TP: I had high hopes when I got called into the Under-17 National Team, and I was there (in Residency) for two and a half years. So I had a good idea by then.
Who had the greatest influence on your development as a player?
TP: I would probably say my older brothers. All of them played and I guess I kind of took after them. They kind of inspired me to play and keep playing.
What’s the most important skill for a defender to have?
TP: I would say not necessarily speed, but footwork - just your body positioning and getting stuck in on the attacking player.
How can young players go about developing that skill?
TP: Usually, you don’t develop it in practice. I think you have to go outside of practice and do it yourself. Do ladder work and cones and mirror drills – all the fun stuff.
Describe your first experience suiting up for the U.S.
TP: It was pretty crazy. It’s definitely an honor to represent your country – a lot of pride. It was amazing. My family was so excited for me, and I kind of took that with me and kept going ever since.
What’s your most memorable youth national team moment?
TP: Qualifying for the 2009 CONCACAF U17 Championship. We did pretty well there. We won all of our games, and unfortunately the championship rounds got called off because of Swine Flu since it was down in Mexico. That was the first tournament they were going to have a champion, but I think that was one of my prouder moments on the [youth] national team.
What’s the biggest difference between playing with the Revs and playing with the youth national teams?
TP: I think everyone is just better; everyone knows what they’re doing. The attackers are better. They know the right runs, so as a defender you have got to be more turned on and stay tuned into the game.
What’s the coolest place you’ve visited because of playing soccer?
TP: France. We went to Paris; it was just amazing there. I think one of the more unusual places was Nigeria. It was humbling experience, just seeing everything with all the poverty, though.
Now that you’re playing professionally for the Revolution, what are your goals?
TP: Definitely a goal for me is getting into the (game day) 18 and getting into the starting line-up. I’ve just got to keep working, even in the offseason – hopefully get some training in somewhere else and be ready for preseason.
What do you see yourself doing when your playing career is over?
TP: I haven’t really thought about it. I’d probably be a designer, designing websites. I took graphic design classes in college. I took an interest in that, so I think web designing would be pretty cool.