US SoccerUS Soccer

Spanning the Ages:'s Q & A with F.C. Westchester and Academy Select Forward Brian Span First of all, you’ve got a pretty clear-cut nickname. Why did people start calling you Cobi?
Brian Span: "It comes from Cobi Jones. When I was younger, I’m not sure I remember when, people thought I played a lot like he does, using his speed. It started with a few friends, but everyone picked it up, and it’s stuck with me until now. " How long have you been playing soccer?
BS: "I’ve been playing most of my whole life, ever since I was five or six and could start to kick the ball around. I just love the sport; I play it any chance I can get, whether with my friends or my teammates." Do you have a favorite player that you follow?
BS: "My favorite player is Thierry Henry, he’s just an incredible player. I watch him all the time—the way he moves, how he beats defenders. I try to imitate him and how he uses his speed on the field." You’ve been selected to be a part of one of the Academy Select teams, and you’re also playing a year up for your club team. How’s it feel to be one of the younger kids on both your team and the academy team?
BS: "It’s really great. I like the academy a lot because it pushes you to another level. At showcases you know [national team] coaches are going to be at games, and before it wasn’t like that. You want to compete, to show you deserve to be at a higher level. The training is pushing me by playing with older kids, to play with them I have to pick my level up if I want to be better than them. It’s not as easy as playing with kids my age, but from the beginning of the season until now I think I’ve really improved because I’m playing kids that are better, stronger, and faster." Do you have any brothers or sisters that play soccer?
BS: "I have a brother whose name is Skip, he plays for Illinois State College. He’s a really talented player. A lot of how I got better was from playing with him growing up." We saw you playing some FIFA ’09 in the Athletes’ Lounge earlier today. Any other hobbies or activities you like to do apart from soccer?
BS: "Well, not really, I really like playing video games. I like to play with Arsenal, because I first started watching Henry when he was with them, he got me to like that team." Do you have any superstitions or pre-game rituals when you take the field?
BS: "I have a wristband that I wear on my right arm. When I first started wearing it, I played well, and it stuck with me—so I thought that if I kept wearing it, I’d keep playing well, and I’ve worn it ever since."