20 questions with the Matador men’s soccer seniors

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After an amazing 15-4-3 season and a trip to the NCAA Sweet 16, the Matador senior soccer players will now move on to their next challenge: life after CSUN. The Daily Sundial’s Matt Osias sat down with seniors Will Beard, Alec de Mattos, Daniel Paladini, Gianni Facio and Zach Feldman for 20 in-depth questions.

(Sundial) For starters, how did it feel to be a part of the first CSUN soccer team to win an NCAA Tournament game?

(Will Beard) Incredible! I felt like we set a standard, and set the bar for the next team.

(Alec de Mattos) It’s special because we won the Big West Championship along with going to the Sweet 16.

(Daniel Paladini) I was just honored to play with these guys.

(Gianni Facio) It was pretty cool to beat Santa Barbara in the second round. We set records and it was pretty intense.

(Zach Feldman) It was exciting, especially since all of us are seniors and a couple of us came here as redshirts. We didn’t even make the playoffs our first year. Finally, to get a win under our belts after playing four years … that was great.

What was your most memorable moment at CSUN?

(Beard) In 2002, scoring the goal against Cal, off of Daniel’s (Paladini) cross pass, beating them 3-0. It was my first goal. We weren’t even supposed to win that game.

(de Mattos) Scoring the winning goal against Irvine two years ago in overtime, and against a rival too. That was pretty memorable.

(Paladini) Beating Santa Barbara this year.

(Facio) When I scored my first goal. I remember running to Terry (Davila, head coach). Ever since that day, well, I get a lot of stuff for it.

(Feldman) The home playoff game against UCSB this year. Just the environment.

What is the funniest thing you can remember involving you and the team?

(Beard) Pretty much any moment with Daniel. It’s pretty classic hanging with him on road trips.

(de Mattos) I don’t know. That’s a tough one.

(Paladini) My freshman year, when I joined the ‘van’ – that was pretty fun – I’m not going to tell what happened though.

(Facio) At dinner we’d say it was Juan’s (Flores, assistant soccer coach) birthday because he always wanted dessert. So we’d all sing “Happy Birthday” to him.

(Feldman) On the road, with the coaching staff – Juan Flores. Just being around those guys, crazy things always happen.

Where was the most difficult place to play during your years on the CSUN soccer team?

(Beard) It has to be the (Sweet 16) game against New Mexico. It topped everything, from Santa Barbara to LMU.

(de Mattos) New Mexico. With the result, the fans and the weather – all of that accumulated to be a bad atmosphere.

(Paladini) New Mexico.

(Facio) Definitely New Mexico. It was cold and the fans were brutal. They definitely made the Santa Barbara fans feel like rookies.

(Feldman) I had the most trouble with San Diego, two or three years ago, at San Diego. I was younger and nervous, and at that time they were a big time team.

What is your favorite professional soccer team?

(Beard) I don’t really have one, but I do like watching teams like Arsenal and Real Madrid, more European teams.

(de Mattos) Boca Juniors, in Argentina.

(Paladini) Manchester, Chivas USA – oh yeah, Chelsea.

(Facio) Boca Juniors.

(Feldman) Yeah, I’m with Will, I don’t really have a favorite. But I like the EPL and Champions League.

Besides soccer, what other sports do you consider yourself to be good at?

(Beard) Basketball.

(de Mattos) Golf. I’m way better than Daniel.

(Paladini) I am pretty much good at every sport (everyone laughs). Golf.

(Facio) I am not really good at any other sport, but I guess volleyball.

(Feldman) Basketball.

When you are not playing soccer, what is your favorite thing to do with your free time?

(Beard) Listening to music and getting CDs.

(de Mattos) Partying with the guys on the team.

(Paladini) Golfing.

(Facio) Hanging out with my family.

(Feldman) Playing cards.

What is your favorite movie?

(Beard) Casino.

(de Mattos) Blow.

(Paladini) Rounders.

(Facio) Scarface.

(Feldman) Belly.

Favorite actor/actress?

(Beard) Jamie Foxx.

(de Mattos) Robert De Niro.

(Paladini) Denzel Washington.

(Facio) Al Pacino.

(Feldman) De Niro.

Who is your favorite musician?

(Beard) Stevie Wonder.

(de Mattos) Steve Miller Band.

(Paladini) Dishwalla.

(Facio) Ray Charles.

(Feldman) I don’t really have a favorite.

What is your favorite food?

(Beard) Mexican food.

(de Mattos) Steak or chicken.

(Paladini) Italian food.

(Facio) Anything my Mom cooks.

(Feldman) Japanese food.

What pregame superstitions do you have?

(Beard) I clean my shoes before every game.

(de Mattos) I wear the same undershirt and practice shirt before every game.

(Paladini) I go to the same place to eat. I wear the same boxers – I clean them! I wash my shoes too.

(Facio) I wear the same undershirt.

(Feldman) No superstitions!

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?

(Beard) My father.

(de Mattos) My mom. For sure.

(Paladini) My parents.

(Facio) My parents.

(Feldman) Yeah, the same. My parents.

What teacher has made the greatest impact on you while here at CSUN?

(Beard) Prof. Kambon Obayani (Pan African Studies).

(de Mattos) Prof. Maurice Arrington (Kinesiology).

(Paladini) Prof. Karen Peck (Communication Studies).

(Facio) Prof. Michelle Mega, she’s the best speech teacher (Communication Studies).

(Feldman) Dr. Peter Marston (Communication Studies).

Who is your hero?

(Beard) You mean super-hero? Michael Jordan.

(de Mattos) My grandfather. He fought in World War II. He was a paratrooper.

(Paladini) That’s easy – Jesus.

(Facio) Tupac.

(Feldman) Michael Jordan.

What do you plan to do after you graduate from CSUN?

(Beard) Become a high school history teacher.

(de Mattos) Fireman or paramedic.

(Paladini) I’m going to try to play pro.

(Facio) Something in advertising or marketing.

(Feldman) An entrepreneur.

Daniel, you have been invited to participate in the 2006 adidas MLS Player Combine. What does it mean to you and what will you do to stand out?

(Paladini) I am very honored. I will just have to play like I have been playing all year.

If you had a million dollars, what would be the first thing you would buy?

(Beard) A nice place to live, with everything in it.

(de Mattos) A house and a Lamborghini.

(Paladini) A million dollars – that’s not that much. But probably a nice car. Oh yeah, the million-dollar Mercedes. It’s sick!

(Facio) A Mercedes. And put a down payment on a house.

(Feldman) A piece of property.

What advice would you pass along to next year’s Matador soccer team?

(Beard) Enjoy your time here because it goes by fast. Don’t take everything personal.

(de Mattos) Don’t take the years for granted. We’ve all been here four or five years and it flies by real quick. Don’t take advantage of the guys that put their life on the line to get the team to where it is today. And get your degree.

(Paladini) Work hard and listen to the coaches. These years fly by.

(Facio) Keep on improving and getting better. Continue going forward. Don’t look back on what we did, just focus on what you could accomplish. Matt (Tracy) keep your head. Don’t lose it.

(Feldman) Always put the work in, whether you are No. 1 or No. 30 on the roster.

What is one thing most people do not know about you?

(Beard) I’m a neat freak.

(de Mattos) I love to cook

(Paladini) I love church. I go every Sunday.

(Facio) I’m also a neat freak, and a compulsive cleaner.

(Feldman) I
can’t think of anything. I guess I don’t have one.

Matt Osias can be reached at mosias@gmail.com