Few first-year players make the type of first impression delivered last fall by UC San Diego Men’s Soccer standout Tony Choi. The 5-10 Folsom native was the Tritons’ second-leading scorer (4 goals/4 assists) and was selected by conference coaches as the Freshman of the Year in the CCAA. “Tony’s got great pace,” says UCSD Head Coach Derek Armstrong. “He does finish well, but his real strength is getting past people and delivering the ball into the box.” The talented Jesuit High School (Carmichael) graduate took time recently to talk about his first year at UCSD and what’s ahead.
Q—How would you describe your game?
CHOI—Offense. I enjoy running at defenders and taking them on. I have confidence in my game and I don't like to lose so I think that helps me win those 1v1 battles. I also enjoy fast paced, high scoring games. I think they’re more exciting for players and fans as well.
Q—Were you surprised at the impact you had as a freshman?
CHOI—Coming in I knew what I could do as a player and that I could offer a lot to the team given the opportunity, but surprisingly I almost didn’t even make the team last season. During the first few days of tryouts Derek told me I might not make the squad and through preseason it looked as if I wouldn’t play much, but things turned out quite differently and I’m glad I could contribute.
Q—What things do you hope to improve on in 2007?
CHOI—I hope to improve a bit more on my fitness. It’s probably what I am lacking the most at the moment.
Q—What type of off-season training do you do?
CHOI—This summer back home I’ve been training with my old club team and playing in a few games just to work a bit on my touch and game fitness. I also have been working out and running a bit here and there on my own. Nothing too out of the ordinary, just trying to stay in decent shape.
Q—After a solid start, last year’s team struggled down the stretch—what happened?
CHOI—I think we got too overconfident and not everyone was on the same page at times. We definitely had our chances to put teams away but we just couldn’t capitalize. Basically, it all came down to that last little bit of effort and we just couldn’t find the back of the net.
Q—What’s your prognosis for the UCSD men’s soccer team this fall? What do you feel will be the strength of the team?
CHOI—I’m really excited and looking forward to this fall. I think we have a decent shot this year. We lost a lot of key players from last season but we still have a lot of talented players. As a team we are all pretty close to each other. We get along really well and as long as we can keep that team chemistry together and on the field and figure out the missing pieces we’ll be just fine.
Q—Is there any player on this year’s team who has a skill you’d like to have?
CHOI—Everyone has there little things to offer and I wish I could have all of them. Jon Sawyer does have a pretty crazy shot though.
Q—What made you decide to attend UCSD?
CHOI—I always came to UCSD once or twice a year to play soccer tournaments and I always liked the campus and I want to go to medical school. UCSD has an excellent biology program so I thought it would be a good fit. But, the area and beach is also a definite plus.
Q—Outside of soccer, what surprised you most about UCSD last year?
CHOI—I was kind of overwhelmed by the number of students and huge classes at first but I got used to it. And the campus was a lot bigger than I had thought. I didn’t know I’d have to walk so much to get anywhere.
Q—Are you doing anything interesting this summer?
CHOI—Not too much. I’m just back home taking two summer school classes to get those Revelle General Ed requirements out of the way. Besides that just relaxing and hanging out with some old friends. And of course I’ve been training and trying to keep fit for the upcoming season.
Q—What are some of your favorite things to do in your spare time?
CHOI—I like to just relax and hang out with friends. Watch TV, go online, go to the beach and go out at night. Basically anything every other college student does in their spare time. Recently I’ve been enjoying going to a few Padres games.
Q—What do you think about the David Beckham signing by the L.A. Galaxy of MLS?
CHOI—Beckham is a great addition to the Galaxy. Already you can see all the attention he is bringing to the MLS and soccer in the U.S. I’m sure this will help the soccer community grow and bring a lot more popularity to the MLS and soccer here in the US—closer to the level we see in Europe or basically everywhere else in the world. I’m definitely going to have to check out one of the Galaxy games while I’m down in So Cal this year.
Previous Q&A Articles
Madeleine Flint (Women's Track and Field) April 30, 2007
Leah Llach (Women's Crew) April 22, 2007
Natalie Hockett (Women's Water Polo) April 9, 2007
Jenny Maze (women's softball) April 2, 2007
Zach Johnson (Men's Crew Head Coach) March 18, 2007
Michelle Osier (Women's Basketball) March 7, 2007
Brooks Dierdorff (Men's Volleyball) March 1, 2007
Scott Clement (Baseball) February 15, 2007
Chelsea Ambort (Women's Fencing) January 29, 2007
Meaghan Noud (Women's Basketball) January 15, 2006
Susan Bell (Women's Swimming) January 6, 2007
Tim Fuller (Men's Swimming) December 20, 2006
Alexis Mezzetta (Women's Basketball) December 10, 2006
Clint Allard (Men's Basketball) November 30, 2006