w/U-20 Defender Greg Folk
Greg Folk is no stranger to the U.S. youth national teams stage, having been called back consistently since attending his first U-14 camp. The 19-year-old UCLA sophomore has learned to adjust between playing midfielder for UCLA and outside back for the USA, but we’re sure it wasn’t as difficult an adjustment as getting used to college life in Southern California, just a short drive from his hometown and the beach. (We have a hard time adjusting just thinking about it!) Okay, so maybe that wasn’t such a huge adjustment, but we can’t say that we blame Folk to staying in SoCal and choosing one of the best soccer schools in the country…
National Team(s): U-20 MNT, U-18 MNT, U-17 MNT, U-14 Developmental Program
Hometown: Woodland Hills, Calif.
Club: UCLA, sophomore, outside back
Greg Folk is no stranger to the U.S. youth national teams stage, having been called back consistently since attending his first U-14 camp. A member of U.S. Soccer's Under-17 Residency Program for awhile, Greg has been part of the U-18s and earlier this year was called in by Thomas Rongen for a U-20 camp.
In the Spotlight
1. When did you get invited into your first camp? What was your reaction?
I got invited; it was at the U-14 level. I believe they took, maybe, 25 players from each region, so it was quite a big camp. I was excited. I didn’t know what to expect. I think it was in Boston, Mass. Other than that, I thought it was great. I had a great time there.
2. What did you learn most in your first national team camp?
There are quite a few good players outside of my hometown, southern California and whatnot. I didn’t realize how many players there actually were that were that good, I guess you could say.
3. Where do you see yourself in five years?
I would hope to be maybe somewhere in the MLS, perhaps Europe because I actually have a German passport. Hopefully playing professionally somewhere once I get out of college and doing well for myself.
4. What’s your best soccer moment?
Probably with my club team, SoCal United, when we won the national championship at the U-16 level. It was my sophomore year of high school.
5. Who’s your favorite U.S. National Team player and why?
I would say Claudio Reyna because I like to watch the EPL and I see him starting for Manchester City. He’s one of the top world-class players that are on the American team and he’s really done well for himself over in Europe.
6. Was he someone you watched grown up or someone you’ve seen more recently?
More recently. Growing up, I didn’t have my eyes on any one particular player, I guess you could say. Definitely, more recently.
7. Being from Woodland Hills, you didn’t stray too far from home by going to UCLA. What influenced your decision to attend UCLA?
At the time, Tom Fitzgerald was the coach and he was a great coach. He won a national championship his first year. When I committed, the team was actually ranked No. 1. It’s a great program, great history, great coaching staff. And it’s in Southern California, it’s hard to beat!
8. What type of music do you listen to, and do you have a favorite band?
I listen to all different kinds: rap, hip-hop, rock. Anything really.
9. What’s the one thing you can’t leave home without?
A soccer ball.
Do you travel with your own soccer ball when you go on trips?
No. Well, maybe my mp3 player for music. It keeps good company.
10. Favorite soccer team in the world and why?
Chelsea. One of my coaches when I played youth soccer, he loved Chelsea. I think he was my coach on a U-14 club team and ever since then he sold me on Chelsea so I’ve been watching them ever since.
Now seems like a good time to be watching them?
They weren’t too good when I first started watching them but recently they’ve definitely made some huge strides with their club.
11. Is switching positions, outside back on the national team, midfield on UCLA, difficult or just part of the game?
It’s definitely both, I would say. Outside back is more straightforward running and more thinking to get forward and whatnot. At school, I play defensive midfield. I’m right in the middle and you have to be aware of everything around you, you have to be aware of options forward and back. It took me a while to get used to the transition and I think I fit in well there, either position.
12. If someone was heading to Southern California on vacation, where would you recommend that they go and why?
The beach. Malibu probably. Just, anywhere on the beach. It’s what southern California is most famous for.
Do you have a favorite beach?
No, not in particular, just anywhere along the shore.