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Nov. 22, 2001

CHARLOTTESVILLE – Student Athlete-of-the-Month showcases an athlete who has demonstrated excellence both on the playing field and in the classroom. The November Student Athlete-of-the-Month, third year Sean Feeney, has displayed a strong work ethic in his academic and athletic endeavors. A pre-med economics major from Manasquan, New Jersey, Sean is a two-year letterman at defense and midfield for the men’s soccer team. He is looking forward to the NCAAs, where Virginia is looks to win the championship.

Q: You’re from New Jersey. How did you end up at Virginia?
A: Yeah, I’m a Jersey boy at heart.[Coach] George Gelnovatch grew up in my hometown, and I went to a soccer camp when I was five years old and he ran it, and that is the first time that I heard about University of Virginia. That fall I came down here to see a game and I fell in love with this place, and my whole life, it became my dream to become a Virginia soccer player. You set goals your whole life, hoping that they can come true, and this one has. I love it down here, it’s God’s country.

Q: You were here over the summer training with the team. How was that?
A: It’s one of those things, ever since first year it has been a journey. You always want to win that national championship, but it’s not going to come that week. It’s going to come after years of playing together, and learning from each other. Most people are determined to succeed, only some people are destined to. I think we are a team that has just worked so hard. Our work ethic – coming in here in July and running sprints on the track. Not touching a ball until three weeks before we go to Holland in August. It’s those things that have put us ahead. We are woven into the fabric of each other’s success.

Q: How was playing in Holland?
Q: If you want to get better, that is the place to go. We were there for 14 days, and everything was excellent. The accommodations were great, the fields were beautiful, the weather was beautiful, and it was just a fitting start to the season, and not only did it help us “gel” as a team, but off the field we were able to band as brothers. And that what we are doing right now, going out there every game and fighting for each other.

Q: Did you get to tour Europe at all while you were over there?
A: We actually did! It was kind of restricted, but we went to Amsterdam and Munich was the big spot. We got to have a little fun over there. It was strictly business, but it was an experience that I’ll never forget.

Q: Coach Gelnovatch talks about how deep you team is, can the second team really compete with the first team?
A: Like I said, we are a team that is woven into the fabric of each other’s success. At any time when you come to practice, we’ll have the first 11 against the second 11 and a lot of times we’ll be beating the first 11, or it’ll be tied, or they’ll be beating us 1-0. We all want to win for the team, from the last guy on the bench to the first guy on the field.

Q: How did you feel about being named most improved player in the spring.
A: It was a nice acknowledgement. I’ve worked hard for it. It hasn’t come easy for me. I came in here and my goal was just to make the team, and I just kept moving up. I set goals for myself each season and last season I did well and this season my role has increased to where I can come in and add energy, intensity, a little organized chaos, whatever can help the team.

Q: Being such a good soccer player, is it ever tough not being on the field and having to come off the bench?
A: It is tough. You have to kind of swallow your pride. You are used to playing every minute of every game, but you have to realize that there are more important things in life. There is a whole college experience to witness, which includes working hard in the classroom, which I take pride in, and knowing that there places to get better on the soccer field too. These last two summers I have dedicated my life to soccer, hitting the weight room and the field with [New York/New Jersey] MetroStars.

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