Q & A with Diego Restrepo
Junior goalkeeper Diego Restrepo recently checked in with VirginiaSports.com to talk about the 2009 season, his first at Virginia after transferring from South Florida. Restrepo has started three of the Cavaliers’ first four games in goal. The team travels to second-ranked Wake Forest for a 7 p.m. match-up on Friday (Sept. 18) night.
Question: What went into your decision to come play for UVa?
Restrepo: I was looking for a better place for soccer. I looked around at other schools but then I thought UVa was the best. I had played here before, I think it was two years ago in a preseason game. Coach Gelnovatch saw my game back then, and he remembered me. We clicked, and he told me to work hard and earn the spot. That is what I did.
Question: Did you expect to start in goal right away when you transferred here?
Restrepo: No, I just wanted to bring my experience from being in college soccer for three years. I redshirted my first year, and I have been around some great goalkeepers at my old school. I wanted to bring my experience and my leadership to these guys here. I just want to bring everything I can to the team and bring it all together.
Question: Was it difficult being a new member of the team and having to be such a vocal leader from the goal?
Restrepo: The great thing is that I came back in the spring, in the offseason. So I got a semester under my belt, and played in some spring games. I also got used to the weather – I came from Colombia and then from Florida, so I was not used to the cold weather. It was great to come in early and get used to working with this team, and I think it is paying off so far.
Question: What is your take on the season so far?
Restrepo: I think we are doing a great job coming together as a team. It’s not that we are lacking effort, I just think we need more energy, like a boost-up in the field. On attack we just need to score goals – we are coming together, but it is just going to take some time.
Question: What do you think is the hardest part about being a goalkeeper? Have you always played in goal?
Restrepo: I started playing goalie when I was 14, so I started late. But the hardest part is that you just have to be brave. It doesn’t matter what is coming at you – I broke my nose twice – it doesn’t matter, you just have to throw yourself behind the ball.
Question: Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
Restrepo: Yes. I always put everything on the right side of my body first. My right sock first, I get my right ankle taped first, right arm through my shirt, everything.
Question: What do you like to do in your free time in Charlottesville?
Restrepo: I just enjoy my teammates.We are like a family, always together.