Q: What does it mean to you to be a member of Vancouver Whitecaps FC?
A: It means a lot to me. I spent six years in Los Angeles. I was embedded in a team and culture for such a long time; you get to know the organization. Vancouver has been one of my favourite cities to come up and play in. The stadium, the fans, the culture, the team when I found out I was coming up here. I was very excited.
Q: What was it like playing on those star-studded Galaxy teams?
A: Being able to play with players at that level pushes you as a professional to bring your best every day. It doesn’t matter if you’re player one or player 26, they demand a high level. It doesn’t matter who you are. They’re pushing everyone to do their best and contribute to the team. You look at the pedigree that a lot of those players have, they’ve played at the highest level and have accomplished a lot. They’re the type of people who can step on the field and demand a lot from everyone else. You know they’re going to be bringing it too.
Q: What was the defining moment in your career to date?
A: Unfortunately, it was at the expense of someone else. In 2016, it was the first game we played against D.C. United. Bruce (Arena) had brought in Dan Kennedy. He was a seasoned veteran that I knew well from Chivas. I looked up to Dan and had a close relationship with him. He was slated as a starter for the year, but 15 minutes into the first game he was injured. I stepped in afterward, had a good stretch of games, and finished out the year. Being able to stay healthy and play the whole season, after being slated as the number two or three goalkeeper for my first four years, was great for me confidence-wise.
Q: You were released from Chivas USA after being selected in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft? How difficult, and motivating, was that for you?
A: It’s always been a patience game for my whole career. Growing up in Oregon, the level was good but by no means great. Then I went to UCLA where I got to play with national team players. It took me a couple of years to get adjusted to that level. Professionally, I got drafted then released. I didn’t have a team for a couple of months. Then I got an opportunity as a pool goalie bouncing around the league before ending back in LA. I had some doubts in my mind at the time. I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing or if I was good enough. But the story of my career is just to keep grinding, day-in-day-out. Eventually opportunities come, and you make the most of them.
Q: What was your experience as a pool goalkeeper?
A: Toronto had a game the next day that I was going to be on the bench for, so I took a red-eye out that night. I didn’t know how long I was going to be in Toronto for, but I knew they needed me out there. I ended up being out there for a couple of months. Then I moved to Portland, Seattle, Philadelphia, and L.A for weekends, so there was a lot of uncertainty, but I just looked at it as another opportunity. I was getting to train every day. I was training with different teams. I was meeting players and coaches. I was learning from goalies that I looked up to my whole career. I just looked at it as another opportunity, one that I wanted to take advantage of.
Q: You met Whitecaps FC goalkeeper coach Stewart Kerr when you were a pool keeper in Toronto. Did you click with him initially and what’s it like being reunited with him now?
A: Yeah, I was super stoked to be reunited with him. We had talked a bit; we were trying to make this happen. Working with him in Toronto was awesome. He did a great job working with me and helping me develop at that early stage. We just got along well and we have similar philosophies regarding how we view the position.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: My parents. I realize how much time, money and energy they spent to help me realize a dream. There was never any pressure on me. They just wanted to see where things went and gave me all the opportunities that they could afford. They instilled a work ethic and drive that’s always stuck with me.