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Chris Somerville entered Virginia this year as a highly-acclaimed recruit, and he hasn’t disappointed. Despite missing a month of action while saddled with mononucleosis, Somerville has been a force in the Cavalier during his freshman year. He has a goal and an assist, and he has created havoc with his speed and physicality. He is the focus of the latest installment of Off the Pitch.

Talk about your freshman experience thus far.
It has been a little crazy. I came late to school because I was in the middle of playoffs so I didn’t get the transition that everyone else did. I didn’t know anything about the school so it was a little scary at first but I’m all right. I’m hanging in there. School is tough and I like soccer. I wish I could play more every day. I love the campus. I love the environment. I love the people.

You got to campus during the summer before most of the first-years. How did that help you get acclimated to school?
It helped a lot because I was just coming back from my injury. I had sprained my MCL before that. It gave me some good fitness training and allowed me to get my touch on the ball back. School wise, it gave me a little jump start. We did two-hour classes in the summer, which was crazy compared to high school, but when it comes down to it, it was really beneficial. I understood how college teachers teach and how the school environment is. It opened up my eyes.

Do you know what you want to do in the future?
I want to play pro but otherwise I have no idea. I’m just rolling with the punches and taking it one day at a time.

Talk about your experience with the national team.
I’ve been with the training camps on the national team. Training camp itself was just the best players in the country. The players there are the top-40 in the country so you go there and everything is so much faster. The competition is greater and on occasion we play the MLS reserve teams and some of the pros too so you get a real feel for the professional environment and what it’s like to be at the next level.

You missed a lot of time this year with mononucleosis. What was the time off like for you?
Mono was awful and I got a really bad case so I felt like I was dead for two weeks. Just watching my teammates, my brothers, playing and just watching them go through a rollercoaster, it stunk because I like to try and be a leader. It motivated me though because I wanted to get back out there. I wanted to start and I wanted to play. I missed being a part of my family. It was awful but it really motivated me to concentrate and focus on school and get back in shape.

Why did you choose UVa?
I committed really early around the end of 10th grade. UVa invited me to come down and do a camp and I loved it here. We played with some of the college kids that were already here. I loved the coaches and I loved the campus. It was the first college experience I’d ever had so I loved it. They gave me an offer right away and I told them I had to wait because I was visiting a couple of other schools, but they were nothing compared to here. It’s so beautiful here and the soccer and the coaches are good. I just really enjoyed being here and that’s why I committed. It was a long wait [after my commitment] but it was worth it.

On something that most people don’t know about him:
My nickname is ‘Little Daddy’ because Matt Poole, who played here three or four years, and I look exactly alike. I came down on my recruiting trip and they started calling me that and it stuck. All my friends call me Little Daddy. Everyone around campus calls me Little Daddy.
I also snowboard and wakeboard. I have a house up in New Hampshire so I like to do sports like that. I’m pretty good. I can do flips and stuff. Soccer is my life though.

Chicken Parmesan
Spot on Grounds: The library
Movie: Talladega Nights
Music: Techno
Artist: Avicii
Sport (aside from soccer): Football
Professional sports team: Philadelphia Phillies
Class: Sports Literature
TV Show: Entourage

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