Note: The following appears in the August 2019 issue of Orange: The Experience.
Q. WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?A. I grew up in Nashville, Tenn., informally known as ‘the 615.’ I grew up on the field with my dad more than anything, and I still think it’s the best city in the world.
Q. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PARENTS?
A. My mom grew up in Miami, and she taught me how to work extremely hard and how to provide for the family. She went above and beyond anything I could have ever imagined, making our lives easier. She’s a huge advocate for doing the little things properly, and she taught me to strive to do them better than anyone else. She’s also been a huge asset for me to get advice from or even just bounce ideas off of.
On the other side, there is my dad. He is my best friend and has been the biggest role model and influence in my life. He has been a teacher and a soccer coach his whole life, and I aspire to be even half the man he is. He is a legend in every sense, from winning lifetime achievement awards to being in the Tennessee State Soccer Hall of Fame. The biggest privilege of it all is having him as a best friend.
Q. DO YOU HAVE ANY SIBLINGS?A. My brother is nine years older than I am. We are polar opposites. He can play almost any instrument you put in front of him. He’s very creative, shy and more reserved, but he knows how to get something done and goes above and beyond in order to do it down to the finest detail. He and his wife have a daughter named Charlotte. She is one of the biggest blessings in my life, and I love her to death.
Q. HOW DID YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH SOCCER?
A. I grew up on the field with my dad and the high schoolers he coached. Like any small kid, I looked up and saw these older kids with their new cleats and gear, I wanted to be like them. Really, it’s a credit to the guys who went through my dad’s system because they were guys I looked up to and wanted to be like. I fell in love with the game even more through one of my coaches. I played football, basketball, and other sports, but was never very good at soccer. When I got a good coach, he put me in my place, and showed me how to become a really great player and taught me so much about the game. From there, my career and my love for the game took off.
Q. WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BECOME A COLLEGE ATHLETE?
A. I think attaching yourself to something bigger than just myself was important to me. When you play for a university like Clemson, you play for an incredible alumni base, you play for so many great supporters in the community, you play for a student body that is so passionate, and there is so much more that goes into playing a game than just soccer at that point.
Clemson goes above and beyond in providing that environment and giving you the opportunity to truly feel how important it is to put on that shirt and play for thousands of people that are proud to say that they’re Clemson fans.
Q. WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE MARKETING AS A MAJOR?
A. I think I was attracted to marketing at first because of the high GPA standards for being accepted into it. Once I got into the major, I really loved the idea of bringing things to life that don’t necessarily have any life to them. Taking a product or service and bringing it to life by giving it a story and being able to sell that was really interesting and attractive to me. The professors in the marketing department have also been amazing and have made me want to be in the classroom learning about it.
Q. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE THE KEYS TO MANAGING YOUR DAILY LIFE AS A STUDENT-ATHLETE?A. Number one, you have to relax and be able to enjoy your life. We live in such a fast-paced environment, I think, when you’re younger, you get caught up in trying to impress everyone. You have so much going on around you that you need to enjoy it and understand how blessed you are to be in this environment. After that, it’s all about prioritizing. You just have to figure out what needs to be taken care of and then do it with your best effort. The third thing you need to do to be successful is to make relationships. Clemson is a really special place in every sense, and, whether it’s with your coaches, your classmates, or your professors, these people truly want to make you better. If you invest in them, they will equally invest in you.
Q. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE CLEMSON MOMENT?
A. My most memorable moment would have to be First Friday against South Carolina during my sophomore year. We beat them 4-1, and there were close to 8,000 fans in the crowd. The whole stadium was shaking, and people were so passionate about it. There is just nothing like a Clemson-South Carolina game, and to be able perform for our fans and put on a show was awesome. The football team was there, the women’s soccer team was there and, the baseball team was there, and seeing us come together as an athletic department showed that they cared about us and the product that we put out.
Q. WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT IN CLEMSON?
A. My favorite place to eat in Clemson is Sidewall Pizza. I get a little pepperoni pizza with some ranch on the side.
Q. WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO LATE NIGHT SNACK?
A. I try to be healthy and not eat snacks, but when I do, I go for a milkshake.
Q. IF YOU COULD HAVE DINNER WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE?A. Luke Bryan. Easy. He is my biggest man crush. I want to be him.
Q. WHERE IS ONE PLACE YOU WOULD LIKE TO TRAVEL?A. I would like to go to Uganda. I want to do a mission trip there. A few of my friends have been, and it looks incredible. Plus, people love soccer there.
Q. WHAT ANIMAL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE MOST SIMILAR TO?
A. A dog. I love dogs!