Boston Breakers right-back and England international Alex Scott was kind enough to take part in this week’s edition of 20 Questions. Enjoy!
AWK: How do you assess the Breakers’ performance against magicJack last weekend?
AS: We need to learn to win ugly and adjust earlier in games when things are not going our way. By this I mean, the field magicJack play their soccer on is 63 yards wide and is by far the worst field you could wish to play soccer on. In fact, there is not much soccer being played on that field, so we need to adjust not 45 minutes into a game but straight away. We need to be able to fight and win balls and win the game sometimes when the soccer is not pretty.
AWK: The Breakers are currently on a two game winless skid. What’s the biggest thing the team needs to do to get back to winning ways?
AS: We need to keep working as individuals every day to get better, then the team will get better overall. It’s early in the season, but we need to be more aggressive as a team in games.
AWK: How has the Breakers defense been getting on in this early stage of the season?
AS: In the last two games, we have had to do a lot of defending, more than normal I would say, but we have done OK. We cannot be fully happy until we start coming away with clean sheets and shutouts. Our defense is a very experienced back line. We are going to have to use this to great effect this season.
AWK: How are the Breakers’ young players fitting into the squad, and which rookie do you think is going to have a breakout season?
AS: The young players are doing well. They work hard, and they always want to prove what they are about, which is good. They have been willing to listen to the coach’s comments and players that have been there and done it to help improve there games, which is refreshing. I have already been so impressed with Keelin Winters. She is going to be a big player for us this season, even more so now with the loss of Jordan Angeli. Keelin has good, quick feet, she can pick out a pass, and she can compete and win things in midfield. You could tell from preseason she was ready to step into this Breakers team and claim a starting place.
AWK: Last season Boston struggled to find winning ways until July before surging to the playoffs. Was there a particular moment you can look back on and determine the tipping point?
AS: Well, the coach says it was the All-Star break. We really picked up a momentum when we came back off the break. As players, we like to put it down to us getting some really loud speakers for our locker room and really being loud and being more relaxed going into games. We stopped putting so much pressure on ourselves to get the win.
AWK: What does it mean to you to have such a passionate fanbase like The Riptide?
AS: As a player it means a lot. You know (that) when things are not always going right for you, you have your fans. The Riptide are always backing you and cheering you on. They have been great from the moment I arrived in Boston, and as a team we are very lucky to have fans like them.
AWK: England are expected to excel in Group B of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. How do you rate England’s chances this year compared to 2007?
AS: Every game in a World Cup is hard; there are no easy games. Everybody thought we had no chance in the 2007 World Cup, and we surpassed everyone’s expectations then by getting to the quarterfinal stage. It seems that everyone is now looking at England and taking note of us, which is good. We know we are a team capable of making things happen.
AWK: Which American player on the Breakers would you most want in the England squad?
AS: Amy LePeilbet for sure. I have always said that Amy is one of the best defenders I have ever played with. She will fight and win the ball when you think it’s not possible. She has that calm presence on the ball. She is just a player you always want on your team no matter what, even if its just a 5-a-side game on the training field.
AWK: You joined Arsenal at the age of 8. Obviously these were youth teams, but still — all I was signing at the age of 8 were my coloring book masterpieces. What was it like to start with the Arsenal program at such a young age and how do you think it molded you as a player?
AS: Arsenal gave me the professional outlook on things from a very early age. They gave me that winning mentality. Even though you win things, Arsenal always wanted to win more. Losing was never an option. Even off the field they imprinted the importance of being professional – how you look after yourself, when you travel and you have the Arsenal logo on, what that should mean. Arsenal gave a very important football education from an early age, and I will always be grateful for that.
AWK: You’re an attacking right-back who can both bomb forward to join in the attack and stay behind and defend. Which role do you enjoy more?
AS: I have always been attack-minded. I like to try and make things happen in a game. The defending side of the game is something I have had to work on and study. I have to say I do enjoy the attack side of things more … everyone likes to watch teams that like to attack.
AWK: You state in your WPS bio that you would want to be a professional dancer if you didn’t play soccer. Does this mean you’re a leader in the pre-game locker room dance-offs?
AS: Hahaha this is something I kid about. I do love to dance however, I love music. I would not say I’m a leader of the danceoffs in the locker room, but the girls know I can teach them a thing or two.
AWK: Be honest, now: How many playful jabs were directed at Lauren Cheney, Amy LePeilbet and your other U.S. teammates after England’s victory last month?
AS: Honestly… not a lot. The US players were very complimentary of the way we (England) played. It was a good test for them going into the World Cup, and it was an important game to test ourself and see how far we have come since playing them in the 2007 World Cup.
AWK: What was the biggest adjustment for you when you first moved to Boston?
AS: Talking slowly. I did not think I spoke that fast in the first place, but it seems no one could understand me, so I have learnt to slow my speech down when I speak to people now. Sometimes my teammates still have trouble though.
AWK: Before coming to Boston, you were a sports science studies teacher back at home. Were you cool and laid back or strict and no nonsense?
AS: I think I was a little of both. I think my students felt they had a good connection with me so I rarely had to put anyone in their place. I would say I am quick-witted, so when a student would try to be smart, I could quickly come back with something and normally they would not try it again. My students knew what I expected of them, and they hardly ever disappointed me or let me down. Maybe I got the best of the bunch, ha.
AWK: Give us one amusing fact about teammate Kelly Smith that fans may not know.
AS: That she really needs to take some cooking lessons … bless her because she does try … SOMETIMES, ha.
AWK: You’re a big Arsenal fan, so you must be annoyed that Arsene Wenger and the boys no longer have a chance of winning the Premier League. Is it time for Wenger to actually spend some money on his squad, and are Arsenal the most frustrating team in the world to support?
AS: I do think it is time to buy some experience, some experience in defense and in midfield. We need to have more true leaders on the field which I think Arsenal lack at the moment. It can be so frustrating to watch them, but then other times it can be truly amazing to watch them. They play soccer how soccer should be played.
AWK: According to your Twitter feed, you’re taking part in a documentary. Can you divulge any details about it?
AS: I can not really give you a lot of detail because I do not know the full extent of it myself. I had a camera crew follow my every move for a full day last week. They wanted to capture how I spend a day. It’s going to be a build up to the World Cup and more filming in the World Cup. There are going to be other PUMA athletes involved also, like A-Rod and Marta. It will be fun, so stay tuned for more.
AWK: What’s Easter with the Boston Breakers like? Do you have Easter egg hunts or exchange baskets of candy?
AS: I had one of the best Easters ever. I spent the day with a host family who are part owners of the Breakers now. We had a fantastic day with great company and great food. I think there was about 25 of us that spent the day. Some Breakers players, some family, and others, neighbors and friends. It was just a really lovely day, one that I will remember.
AWK: Boston accents can sometimes be hard to understand. Is there a Bostonian word or phrase you find particularly hilarious/ridiculous?
AS: I parked the car in Harvard Yard? Why? Hahaha. I do not find it hard to understand most of the time, maybe with my accent I think I have something in common.
AWK: We ask this of every Alexandra we interview, but you’re one of several popular and talented players named Alexandra/Ali/Alex currently making their presence known in the women’s soccer world. Why are Alexandra’s so awesome.
AS: That is a hard question. I really do not know, ha. If i was to look into this … each Alex/Ali are really hard working, and if you look up the meaning of the name, the Greek meaning says to ‘defend or help’ so maybe this is why we are awesome. Who knows? But long may it continue.
Thanks to Alex, Ryan, and Dani.