For this week’s edition of 20 Questions, we visit with Ricky Dorrego, a sophomore midfielder and homegrown talent on the San Jose State University men’s soccer team.
Dorrego grew up in San Jose and graduated in 2007 from Lincoln High School, where he starred and was named the San Jose Mercury News Boy’s Soccer Athlete of the Year as a senior while leading the Lions to their best Central Coast Section finish in school history. As a freshman a season ago, he led the team with five assists, finishing as the top assist-getter among Mountain Pacific Sports Federation rookies.
A skilled winger with pace, Dorrego notched the first official goal of his college career to tie last Sunday night’s home match with area rival Stanford in the fifth minute. He had previously scored during a 5-0 exhibition victory over UC Santa Cruz on August 22, with both goals coming from spectacular strikes from outside the opposing penalty area, the first with his left foot and the latter with his right.
1. Who are some of your favorite musical artists?
Some of my favorite musical artists are Lil Wayne, Kanye West and Justin Timberlake.
2. Any favorite movies? Do you have a favorite soccer movie?
My favorite movies are Wedding Crashers, A Goofy Movie and Dumb & Dumber. As for my favorite soccer movie, I would have to say Victory. It is a very old movie (1981) that featured many soccer legends, including Pele.
3. Do you have any favorite television shows?
The best television show of all-time is Seinfeld, hands down. Brent (Young) and I are also big fans of the Food Network, so pretty much any show on the Food Network is very interesting.
4. We know you root for Real Madrid in Spain and are a fan of Spain and Liverpool striker Fernando Torres. Any other pro soccer teams or players that you admire?
Real Madrid is my favorite, but I also like to watch Arsenal play. They touch the ball around a lot and play very fast. Cesc Fabregas (Spain and Arsenal) is another player I enjoy watching. He has great vision and amazing touch. He is also a very young player.
5. Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
Actually, ever since I scored against UC Santa Cruz, I wear the same pair of shoes to the stadium that I wore to that game, which are some blue and white Creative Recreations and it has seemed to work out so far.
6. If you weren’t a soccer player, what other sport would you play?
Even though I am way too short, I would have to say basketball. I played it growing up, and I still like it.
7. Favorite pre-game meal?
It is an apple harvest salad with chicken on top from Sonoma Chicken Coop. I don’t want to get too full before games, so I go light.
8. Both your parents attended San Jose State and excelled here as judo athletes. Talk about staying local, following them here and contributing to what is a storied men’s soccer program.
It’s cool going to the same school that my mom and dad went to, especially with their success in judo. My grandmother also worked at San Jose State for many years before I decided to come here, so my family has been around SJSU for a while. As for the soccer program, it does have a very storied past, and I am honored to be a part of it.
9. Can you think of a favorite class so far during your short time at San Jose State?
My favorite class so far was in my first semester as a freshman, I took an Introduction to Radio class, and I was actually on the radio at KSJS (90.5 FM) for about two hours by myself. I was not very good, but it was fun.
10. What is your favorite thing about the game of soccer?
My favorite part of soccer is that it is so inventive, and no situation is the same. It is all about creativity and improvisation. That is why soccer is the best sport in the world.
11. What is one school that you wish you could play against in your career?
As a player, you always want to play the best, and last year’s national champion was Wake Forest, so I would love to play Wake Forest.
12. What are some of your favorite foods?
Food is one of the best things in life. I love all kinds of food. My favorite food is paella. It is a Spanish dish which has a lot of rice mixed with chicken, clams, mussels, shrimp, pork and meat. It has everything and it is delicious.
13. What would be your dream vacation spot?
Madrid, Spain, would be amazing, because I want to go to Real Madrid’s stadium (Santiago Bernabeu) in person and watch them play.
14. Who has been the most influential person in your life?
The most influential people in my life have been my parents. They have supported me through everything I have ever been through and been with me through all of my ups and downs.
15. Take us through your goal against Stanford on Sunday night to tie the game in the fifth minute. Your first collegiate goal, against a respected program and area rival like Stanford, with your family in the stands, it had to have been a special moment for you.
Of course it was a very special moment. As the ball came to me, all I was thinking was just put it on target. When it went in, I was excited, but at that moment, I was more excited that the game was now level instead of getting my first goal. After the game was when it really hit me, when I saw my family and they were very excited for me.
16. What are some things you like to do when you are away from the soccer field?
Off the field, one of my favorite pastimes is a board game Brent (Young) brought from Las Vegas called PegIt. Brent, Kachiside (Madu), Aria (Vossoughi) and I play this game a lot. Anyone who really knows us has seen us play this game.
17. You starred at Lincoln, and in club soccer before that, figured heavily as a true freshman for the Spartans last year, and have even donned the national team jersey of Mexico at the U-15 level. What has been your most memorable athletic moment to date?
My most memorable athletic moment was playing with the Mexican national team at the age of 15 and playing under Chucho Ramirez, who won the (2005 FIFA) U-17 World Championship with Mexico.
18. New Mexico enters the 2008 season as the four-time defending Mountain Pacific Sports Federation champion. We’ve asked this of a couple of your teammates already. What do you think you guys need to do in order to end their run at the top?
Not be intimidated by them. We’re a really good team and we can take it to New Mexico and the rest of the conference this season. We just need to play our game and we will be alright.
19. What are your goals, both individually and as a team, for the 2008 season?
My goal this season is as a team to win the conference and go to the NCAA Tournament, and if we get that done, the individual stuff will take care of itself.
20. Let’s try something new. Who in your opinion is the funniest guy on the team? Who is the most difficult player to face in practice? Who has the best soccer tricks?
The funniest guys on the team to me are Gavin Wenyon and Richard Mann. As for the most difficult player to face in scrimmages, to me it’s Brian McGuire, because of his energy and tenacious defending. He is always tough to beat. I also believe Junior Burgos has the best soccer tricks on the team.
21. After one final exhibition match with Cal State East Bay this Thursday night, you guys take on another big area rival in USF at home on Wednesday, September 10. Talk about that match-up a little bit. Last year’s meeting at Negoesco Stadium was a memorable affair and you guys were a bit unfortunate to come away with a 3-2 defeat thanks to three set-piece goals by the Dons. You assisted on the second Spartan goal.
Our battles with USF have always been tough matches. They always are big games as well, because of the area rivalry, so I expect another good game.
22. Last thing. You were part of the five-player group (with Sky Cutler, Boyah Kaar, Kachiside Madu and Brent Young) that won last year’s Student-Athlete Talent Show for the men’s soccer program, providing a particularly entertaining, Salsa-esque bit in the middle. Can you talk about what the fellas might have in store for an encore this November, or is it top secret?
Haha. You will have to wait and see.
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
September 3 - Ricky Dorrego, Men's Soccer