For this week’s edition of 20 Questions, we visit with Efrain Burgos, Jr., a sophomore midfielder on the San Jose State University men’s soccer team.
Burgos was born in his native country of El Salvador, but grew up in San Bruno, Calif., and graduated in 2006 from Westmoor High School in Daly City, Calif. He stepped onto the collegiate scene with five goals, three of them game-winners and three of them off of free kicks, to go alongside one assist for 11 total points a year ago. Burgos accounted for San Jose State’s first two scores, the second on a perfectly-placed free kick, in a 5-0 exhibition victory at home over UC Santa Cruz last Friday evening, August 22.
The Spartan men kick off the 2008 season for real at Spartan Field against Notre Dame de Namur University this Friday afternoon, August 29, at 3:00 p.m. Admission is free for all matches played on Spartan Field. San Jose State then hosts area rival Stanford University on Sunday night, August 31, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Spartan Stadium.
1. Who are some of your favorite musical artists?
I think music brings lots of memories to a person’s life. My favorite musical artists are Lil Wayne, Collie Buddz, Jimmy Roses and Silvio Rodriguez.
2. Any favorite movies? Do you have a favorite soccer movie?
My favorite movie of all-time is Rocky IV. I have watched it about a hundred times, and it always inspires me to work harder. My favorite soccer movie is The Big Green, which came out in 1995.
3. Do you have any favorite television shows?
My favorite television show has to be “Entourage.” Can’t leave out “The Hills,” “Man vs. Wild” and “Survivor.”
4. What professional soccer teams do you root for? Are there any particular players you admire?
My favorite soccer team has to be FC Barcelona. I enjoy watching them play since they are one of the few clubs in the world that really know how to play soccer. I admire two players in the world, (Juan Roman) Riquelme (Boca Juniors and Argentina) and Ronaldinho (AC Milan and Brazil). They both play the same position I do (attacking central midfielder).
5. Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
I come from a very Catholic family. One pre-game ritual I have is that I grab a ball right before a game, I lock myself in the bathroom and I pray in Spanish. It makes me feel safe and confident right before I play a game.
6. If you weren’t a soccer player, what other sport would you play?
Life would be terrible without soccer, but I would probably play table tennis. When I was in middle school, I played for the school’s team and actually won a lot of medals in different tournaments.
7. Favorite place in San Jose?
My favorite place in San Jose has to be Spartan Stadium. The field is beautiful, where I have felt both joy and sadness.
8. Favorite pre-game meal?
I don’t have a favorite pre-game meal because I don’t like to eat before games. If my game is at night, I usually eat cereal in the morning and make sure I drink a lot of water. I would rather keep my stomach empty, than have it full and heavy.
9. You’ve played in some big matches in some important settings already in your career. What has been the highlight so far?
The biggest game I have played in was against the Los Angeles Legends in the Premier Development League (this past July). I scored the winning goal with less than five minutes left in the game. That goal meant the end of the season for the Legends, and gave us the first-place spot in the table.
10. What has been your favorite class at San Jose State?
My favorite class at San Jose State has to be Sociology 80 with Terry Macdonald. One of the coolest teachers I have ever had, and I received my first college A+.
11. What is your favorite thing about the game of soccer?
My favorite thing about soccer is that it’s played in every country in the world. It is the most complex sport. Soccer has given me everything I have ever wanted. Therefore, I am grateful to be a player of the greatest sport in the world.
12. What is one school that you wish you could play against in your career?
The school I wish I could play in my career has to be UCLA. They have a big reputation in college soccer, and it would be nice to beat them.
13. What are some of your favorite foods?
My favorite food is fettuccine alfredo. My mom makes crab cocktail, and it’s probably one of the best things I have ever tried in my life.
14. What would be your dream vacation spot?
My dream vacation spot would have to be Lisbon, Portugal. It’s a great city, where the best language in the world is spoken, Portuguese.
15. Who has been the most influential person in your life?
The two most influential people in my life are my parents. They both have supported me in every decision I have made, and I am happy to say they are the greatest parents in the world.
16. We know that your father (Efrain Burgos) is a respected soccer coach in the area. What’s it like playing for him?
Playing for my father has not only been hard for me, but also for him. I have learned so much with my father, and I give him credit for all my success in soccer.
17. What are some things you like to do when you are away from the soccer field?
I like to spend time with my family and friends. I enjoy cooking and watching movies with friends.
18. Is there a single goal from your career thus far, that stands out as one of the most memorable?
Every goal to me is memorable, since I only score memorable goals. On the serious side, the one that stands out would have to be my first collegiate goal (in double overtime) against Davidson College in North Carolina (on September 2, 2007), which gave San Jose State first place in the Davidson adidas Classic.
19. New Mexico enters the 2008 season as the four-time defending Mountain Pacific Sports Federation champion. What do you and your teammates need to do in order to knock them off the top spot this season?
We have beaten teams that have played better soccer than New Mexico. One of the main things we must do is to be organized and play as a team. I have faith that we can.
20. What are your goals, both individually and as a team, for the 2008 season?
My goal individually is to work as hard as I can in order to perform during games, and make the players around me better in order to achieve success. As a team, some of the goals I would like to achieve are winning the league title and going to the NCAA tournament.
21. You made the all-conference team in the Premier Development League as a member of the San Francisco Seals this past summer. How much did playing with the Seals aid in your development as a soccer player?
Playing with the Seals helped me in many ways. I learned to be compact defensively and explosive on offense. I played with some of the best players around the area, which made the game flow easier. My achievements with the Seals have opened opportunities at the next level in the future, as I developed into a better player.
22. You open the season this Friday against Notre Dame de Namur, and then go right into a critical area meeting with Stanford on Sunday night, also at home. Please give us some brief insight into this weekend’s action.
I think that after beating UC Santa Cruz this past Friday, the team is fired up to play again. We have built a certain level of confidence. Notre Dame de Namur and Stanford will be a test for us this weekend. We have been working really hard since Friday, and I have faith in my team that we will come out on top this weekend.
This week’s 20 Questions was brought to you by The Grill On The Alley.
Past 2008-09 20 Questions
June 13 - Jeff Leightman, Women's Soccer
August 20 - Lewis Sweeney, Men's Soccer
August 27 - Junior Burgos, Men's Soccer