Hailing from Naperville, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, Brittany Bock is what they call a “hammer.” The boys on Saturday Night Live would love her almost as much as Mike Ditka. The rugged defensive midfielder for the U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team is not afraid to put her body on the line to win a ball, and usually, the opponent comes out worse for wear. The rising sophomore at Notre Dame is in Teresopolis, Brazil, for a series of matches against the Brazilian and Canadian U-20 teams. She actually had to pick-up her renewed passport on the morning of her domestic flight, but all was in order, and she made it to Brazil, where she shook off the jet lag to answer 11 Questions for ussoccer.com.
ussoccer.com: You’ve only been in Brazil a few hours now, but what are your impressions so far?
Brittany Bock: “I love it. This is the one place I’ve wanted to come my whole life. On the way to the hotel from the airport, I saw little kids on the side of the road playing soccer in random places, under the freeway, on little grass fields, this country is the heart of soccer to me. They play for the love of the game. I love it, too.”
ussoccer.com: You just turned 19 last Tuesday, April 11, and you are in the middle of a memorable journey to the World Championship in Russia. Have you thought about how great it is to spend your last year as a teenager getting to travel around the world and preparing for your biggest tournament ever?
BB: “Being on this team is an opportunity of a lifetime. So many girls would love to be in our shoes. I don’t take anything for granted. I just feel very lucky that I am able to come on all these trips and every second here is special. I seriously cherish these moments as there are not many girls who get to do this at this age. I’ve already traveled more than my dad or grandparents ever did.”
ussoccer.com: Although you’ve only be in a Brazil for a little bit, can you give us one thing about Teresopolis that is similar to South Bend, Indiana, and one thing that is not?
BB: “Similar? Hmmm…I really can’t think of anything. Different? This is about as far from South Bend as you get. It’s up in the mountains with beautiful scenery, delicious fruit and it is hot. I am sweating right now. And I bet no one around here knows who Charlie Weiss is.”
Editor’s Note: Charlie Weiss is the head football coach at Notre Dame.
ussoccer.com: You’ve been mostly playing defensive midfield for the U-20s, even though you got a run at forward during the recent Texas and California camps. Unless head coach Tim Schulz is planning on turning you into the next Abby Wambach, your role will be at the defensive mid. What do you bring to the team at that position?
BB: “Definitely a physical presence I’d say. People say I’m a “truck” and I guess that doesn’t really bother me. I like using my strength, and hitting and tackling people, in the most legal way of course. I am more of a one-and-two touch player, I like to get the ball and move it around, try to be creative with my passing going forward. I am not as much of a dribbler, but recently I’ve been better taking players on one-on-one, which is something I am working on even though my position doesn’t call for that too often.”
ussoccer.com: That said, is there any player or players, man or woman, that you like to model your game after?
BB: “I would like to model my game after Shannon Boxx, because she plays my position for the National Team, and I want to get to where she is, and she went to Notre Dame. She’s just really smooth on the ball, and so aggressive and smart. When we scrimmaged the full team early in the year, I went up with her for a header and she won it, but I didn’t know she was behind me! I know that I have a lot of work to do. The weekend we get back from Brazil is alumni weekend. Maybe she will play and give me a chance to get her back on a header.”
ussoccer.com: We’ve heard that you and your Notre Dame and U-20 teammate Carrie Dew are such good buds that your friends at school have taken to calling you guys “Dewbock” because you are always hanging out together. Who would be more lost without the other one?
BB: “I would say, honestly, Dew would be more lost without me. I have to baby-sit her most of the time because she’s so California chill. But really, it’s scary. We even wear the same clothes sometimes without asking each other. The other day I showed up to history class in my Nike light blue long sleeve Dri-Fit top, I turn the corner and she is sitting in class in the same shirt! All we could do was laugh. Everyone was killing us. But, seriously, Dew needs me to make sure she can handle the Midwest and to start conversations with cute boys.”
ussoccer.com: You have four games coming up, two against Canada U-20s and two against Brazil U-20s. What are the team goals for these games?
BB: “We’ve already played Canada, so we know their style, but I think Brazil is going to be quite different. They are so technically skilled and creative, and it’s just a different soccer culture here, and we are in their culture. It might take a bit of getting used to, but we’ve been playing better so we just want to keep growing and developing as a team and of course, win all the games.”
usoccer.com: You are from the suburbs of Chicago. Which is your favorite team (aside from Notre Dame football), the Bears, Bulls, Cubs, White Sox, Fire or Blackhawks?
BB: “That’s a hard one. I really like them all, but when it comes to the Cubs and the White Sox, I am a White Sox girl. People think I jumped on the bandwagon, but I really didn’t! My mom is Cubs, my sister is Cubs, my dad is White Sox and my brother is White Sox. That’s two girls who are Cub fans and the two boys are Sox fans. I had to break the tie. When the Fire played in Naperville, I went to a few games. It was really fun.”
ussoccer.com: The Fighting Irish lost to Portland in the quarterfinals of the 2005 NCAA Tournament. Obviously, that was a great team that went on to win the NCAA title. What did your Notre Dame team learn from that game last season that you can take into your sophomore year?
BB: “Every year you can build from the last. We obviously lose a lot of good seniors, but for me, from the beginning of the season to the end, I saw myself improve as a player along with the team, from fitness to the soccer side of it. I think I can become more of a leader on the team now that I’ve got a year under me. But the most important thing is that we have to want to win so bad that any team that plays us has to rip the game away from us.”
ussoccer.com: This U-20 team has some very good chemistry and the team has a lot of laughs together. Who is the funniest or the goofiest on the team?
BB: “That’s a hard question because there are so many outrageously, crazy and funny girls on the team. But if I had to choose, it would have to be Amanda Poach. I don’t even know why…maybe it has something to do with her random outbursts of singing, her many facial expressions, her willingness to talk to just about anyone and her hair-trigger to get into punch buggy fights!”
ussoccer.com: If you had the choice of 1) Calling a play in a real Notre Dame football game from the sideline, 2) Going to dinner with Mathew McConaughey, or 3) Getting your first cap for the full team, but you only get to play five minutes, which one would it be?
BB: “No doubt, the last one. That’s my dream. To step on the field as a full National Team player, I don’t care if I get to play one minute, just to be there…(she looks dreamily towards the ceiling)…that would be awesome. I think Coach Weiss can handle it on his own and Matt probably doesn’t have trouble getting a date. But I can I take a rain check on that one?”
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