Q&A With Nick Cukar

Nick Cukar is a junior outside midfielder on the 2008 Spartan roster. The native of Millbrae, Calif., and graduate of Capuchino High School has 10 total points from five goals, with a conference-leading four game-winning strikes. He has started all 15 matches this season, and 34 straight over the past two years, now with 11 career goals.

The Spartans, now at 6-5-4 overall and 2-4-1 in MPSF play, are heading into the final stretch of the 2008 regular season in search of an above-.500 record both overall and in the league. They play their last three matches at home, beginning this Friday, November 7, against the Rebels of UNLV. Kick-off is set for 2:30 p.m. at Spartan Field, with admission free.

We asked Nick, a kinesiology major, to take a few minutes out of his school and practice schedule to be this week’s guest for our occasional website mini-feature here on SJSUSpartans.com, Men’s Soccer Q&A.

1. Who are some of your favorite musical artists?
I pretty much like all kinds of music, but if I had to say, they would be Maroon 5, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, The Fray and Brad Paisley.

2. Any favorite movies? Do you have a favorite soccer movie?
My favorite movies would have to be the new Batman series (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight), the Indian Jones collection (except the new one, which I thought wasn’t very good), Pirates of the Carribean, The Shawshank Redemption and Saving Private Ryan. As for soccer movies, I’d have to say The Big Green, a classic childhood movie.

3. Do you have any favorite television shows?
Entourage, Family Guy, South Park and E:60 (show on ESPN).

4. What professional soccer teams do you root for? Are there any professional soccer players who you admire?
I can’t say I have a favorite soccer team. I more so root for the quality of play in the game, but if I were to name some teams, they would be Arsenal, Manchester United and Juventus. Professional players I admire are Ruud van Nistelrooy (Holland and Real Madrid) and Niko Kranjcar (Croatia and Portsmouth).

5. What factors can you attribute your tremendous rise to a year ago, when you started all 19 games and scored six goals after appearing in just five home games as a true freshman in 2006?
After that spring season we had, I was very confident that I could be a player who could help out the team a lot. Coach (St. Clair) had told me I had a very good spring, which gave me a lot of confidence going into the summer. I worked on some things during that time, and as a forward coming into this program, my natural instincts of scoring have not left me. I really worked had in that time and it paid off for me in the 2007 season.

6. As primarily a left-sided midfielder on this team, what do you feel are a couple of your strengths? How about any weaknesses you would like to work to fix heading into your senior campaign?
I believe my strengths are the ability to score and rise to the occasion, as most of my goals are game-winners. I feel that I do have a great impact on the team, but without the team, I wouldn’t be in the spot where I am now. This is a team sport, and I feed off of others’ successes and failures, as we win and lose as a team. I would like to work on my defense a lot more. Playing forward most of my life, I was never really made to defend, so being a midfielder, that’s one thing I must get better at, as defense does win games.

7. You’ve scored 11 goals in your collegiate career thus far, seven of them game-winners. Is there a single goal or a single moment that stands out over your first three years in the program?
The one goal that sticks out the most was the first one. We were in (Davidson,) North Carolina, playing in the first game of the season against Charlotte (on August 31, 2007), and Coach (St. Clair) had moved me over to the left side of midfield from the right side, so it was kind of new to me at the time. The goal itself was probably one of the best goals I could ever score. I shot it from about 40 yards out, and it goes into the upper 90 (upper corner) and in. By far my favorite goal and probably the best goal I’ve scored.

8. Can you recall a favorite place you have visited? Is there a place that you would like to visit some day?
I don’t really have a favorite place that I’ve been to. Every place I’ve gone to, I liked for different reasons, but the places that I have gone to that I really thought were cool because I got to play soccer there as well, were Brazil and Germany. In Brazil, I was able to play against the Sao Paulo youth team, and in Germany, I was able to play against the Hannover 96 youth team. Both were great experiences and will stick with me forever. I would really like to visit England and Australia, as I’ve hung out with Ed (Brand) and Sam (Shore) a lot. It would be really cool to see where they come from. They talk about their homes and culture a lot.

9. The Spartans have three matches left in the regular season, all at home. Talk about this upcoming homestand for you guys and what you hope to accomplish.
This homestand is big for us. We dropped two close games to both these teams (UNLV and New Mexico on the road), and would like to give them some payback, as we are playing at home, where we are most comfortable. We are going to expect nothing less than six points (two wins) this weekend, which we see as something that is very attainable for this team. We are going to work hard this week, so we can get the two results we want.

10. What are some things that you enjoy doing when you’re not playing soccer?
I like to watch sports just as much as I like to play sports, so I’m constantly watching sports on TV, always looking at sport stats, looking for game tickets and also hanging out with friends and playing video games when I get the chance to.

2008 Men's Soccer Q&A Guests
September 9 - Bobby Jackson, Redshirt Freshman Midfielder
September 23 - Josh Boemecke, Sophomore Midfielder
October 8 - Brent Young, Redshirt Freshman Forward
October 16 - Dan Addiego, Redshirt Freshman Defender
October 16 - Colby Moore, Junior Forward
October 30 - Oscar Monjaras, Junior Defender
October 30 - Oscar Yniguez, Freshman Midfielder
October 30 - Boyah Kaar, Redshirt Freshman Defender
November 5 - Nick Cukar, Junior Midfielder