Joining sjsuspartans.com for 20 Questions this week is Nicole Irwin, who will be a fourth-year senior midfielder for the women’s soccer team this coming season. The reigning Western Athletic Conference “Offensive Player of the Year” and two-time first-team All-WAC selection led the Spartans with eight goals scored, including four game-winners, and 20 total points a year ago. Irwin is a health science major with a minor in kinesiology. With an expected graduation date of May 2008, she will enter the 2007 campaign with 14 goals and nine assists over 59 career games, all starts.
1. What is one word that can be used to describe yourself?
2. Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
Every game, I have to put my left cleat on before my right cleat, and I have to have a Red Bull (Energy Drink) two hours before kickoff.
3. Who are some of your all-time favorite sports heroes?
My all-time favorite soccer player is Cobi Jones of the (Los Angeles) Galaxy. He’s just been the one soccer player since I was little that I admired.
4. What are some of your favorite bands or musicians, movies, actors, actresses and television shows?
My favorite band is called Bowling For Soup. Titanic is one of my ultimate favorite movies, and Anchorman is a crack-up. Jennifer Aniston is my favorite actress, and Will Ferrell is my favorite actor. My favorite television show would be Friends, because it never gets old. My new one is a new series called Dirt (with Courteney Cox on FX).
5. What has been your favorite class at San Jose State?
I really liked my Health Science 158 class. It was called “Health and the Internet.”
6. What do you want to do after you graduate?
I want to travel around Europe for a while, have fun, and then continue my education and get a master’s (degree) in physical therapy.
7. What is your favorite thing about your sport?
I like the contact. That makes me happy.
8. How do you believe being an athlete makes you a better person?
It helps me to gain a full understanding of time management.
9. What is one school that you wish you could have played against in your career?
I always wanted to play against North Carolina, just because they have always been No. 1 or No. 2 (in the nation), battling Santa Clara for that top spot.
10. Who has been the most influential person in your life?
My father. Both my parents have been my number-one support since I was little. Through college, my father hardly missed a game. I think he missed one game when I was in high school. He came all the time, and was the one driving me everywhere. He would spend hours with me in the garage, making sure I get this move down, or teaching me things that I needed to learn to better my playing ability.
11. What are some of your favorite foods?
Pizza and candy. (For candy,) I love sour straws, or anything sour.
12. What would be your dream vacation spot?
I want to go to Fiji, and to Europe. I’ve always dreamt about going to Portugal, because that’s where I’m from. I’ve always wanted to go there, just so I could see where my grandfather (on my mother’s side) came from.
13. What are some of the things you do when you are away from the soccer field?
I love to dance, and that’s about all I have time for.
14. What is your favorite San Jose State team other than your own?
I really like the gymnastics team, just because they are really, really good, and they all have high GPAs. They are really good both (athletically and academically).
15. What would be your dream job?
I want to be a physical therapist for a professional sports team. There’s no way I’m going to get away from sports. I’m always going to want to be around it. It would be cool because I would actually get to travel, and not have to worry about playing. I’ve always wanted to work with athletes.
16. What has been he highlight of your sports career so far?
Being named the WAC “Offensive Player of the Year” (last year). The ultimate highlight, even before that one, was (the game-winning goal I scored) my sophomore year in double overtime against Saint Mary’s (at Spartan Stadium on October 26, 2005, a left-footed blast from over 30 yards out into the upper corner of the goal with just 3:28 remaining in the second and final extra period).
17. What are some of your individual expectations and goals for the 2007 season? Does it put any added pressure on you to come in as the “Offensive Player of the Year” in the conference?
No. I don’t really think about it that much, because that was last year. It was an award I got last year. It’s over and done with. You can’t hold onto that. My individual goal is just to work as hard as I did last year, or even harder.
18. What are your team expectations and goals for the 2007 season?
I’m going to be a senior this year, and I want to win the (Western Athletic Conference regular season and tournament), and go to the NCAA Tournament. This is my fourth year and we have never been (to the NCAA Tournament). Our team can really do it this year.
19. Do you have a favorite stadium you have played in? Where do you think is the toughest place to play in the WAC?
I think my favorite stadium is probably (Spartan Stadium), just because it’s ours. The toughest place would probably be Fresno (State). The last time we played there, we won, but they are our biggest rivals, and in Fresno, they have vocal fans who just want to scream at you.
20. What are you up to this summer?
I’m taking two summer school classes, working out at 5:30 a.m. four days a week, and I’m working five days a week.
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