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Deuce Part Deux:'s Q & A with U-17 MNT Midfielder Alex Shinsky

Alex Shinsky is one of only two players born in 1993 on the U.S. U-17 MNT qualifying roster and he’s also one of the smaller players on the team. The speedy winger has come into his own here in Tijuana, wreaking havoc on opposing defenses up and down the U.S. right wing. Set to return to the lineup in Wednesday’s semifinal against Costa Rica, Shinsky sat down to answer 11 questions with You’re one of the youngest players on the team and one of only two ‘93s to make this roster, do your teammates give you a hard time about that?
Alex Shinsky: “Yes! Especially when I first got to Residency everyone was giving me a hard time. They’ve given me nicknames, and sometimes I feel like I’m the little brother on the team and everyone else is my older brother. I get picked on sometimes but it’s all just fun.” You are also one of the smallest players, but you certainly don’t play like you’re small…
AS: “I always go 100 percent. And I have an older brother (Max, 18) who used to beat me up. I got used to him pounding on me a little bit. Most people here are older and bigger than I am so I’m used to them coming at me and playing physically.” Do you feel like you have to work harder because of those things?
AS: “Naturally I think I work pretty hard, but I like the challenge of being younger and I try to use it to my advantage. Mentally I’ll make myself work harder, and I feel like I have to think more about the things that I’m doing.” What do you think is your biggest strength as a player?
AS: “My biggest strength as a player I think would be my speed. I think I control my pace well and usually even if I’m not faster than my defender then my change of pace works well against him.” We know you really like scoring goals and also setting up goals for your teammates. How does it make you feel when you’re able to create a goal either by scoring or assisting?
AS: “Creating a goal feels great. It feels like I’m contributing to the team, and that’s really what I like to do. I like being creative with the ball, playing combinations and stuff. I like to dribble too, but I don’t do that too much in games. I just try and do what’s best for the team.” How would you describe yourself in three words?
AS: “Crazy, unique and fun” What kind of celebration are we going to see if you do score?
AS: “Actually, it goes back to when I was injured for a little bit, and Jared Watts was injured at the same time. We were sitting on the sidelines of a game and there was a mascot walking around and dancing. I had a dance off with him and just started doing the robot, so I think it comes from that. People always ask me to do the robot. I like to dance and so I usually do it. That’s what would happen if I scored. Everyone saw it after dinner one day, so I think the coaches are hoping it happens in a game.” How did you get into dancing and singing? We have also heard you rap…
AS: “I’ve always liked music, and I really like hip hop. My roommate, Tyler (Polak) and I get bored sometimes and have nothing to do so we just started writing raps just for fun, trying to be funny about it. We make jokes through it and stuff. We just want to do something different since everyone always listens to the same things. We try to start new trends with our teammates.” Do you use different beats in your songs too? How does that work?
AS: “There is actually a program on my computer that you can make beats on. It’s just a music making software for Apple. Again, it’s about being bored on rainy days and stuff. But I think it turns out pretty well.” What do you do with your down time here in Mexico?
AS: “Usually I just watch TV or talk to my girlfriend or my family. We watch TV a lot and I’m trying to learn Spanish, but (Marlon) Duran is my roommate, and he doesn’t tell me what’s going on! Actually, sometimes I think he’s messing with me because he translates stuff and it has nothing to do with what’s going on in the scene. It just doesn’t correspond!” You’re pretty open and outgoing, but is there anything that not too many people know about you?
AS: “I’m pretty much just all out there. I guess the rapping though, not too many know about that. I haven’t told too many people about it other than some of the guys in Residency and a few friends at home. I don’t think many people know that about me, but I really like it.”