Up Close & Personal With Anthony Chimienti
Sept. 29, 2000
Men's soccer standout Anthony Chimienti is a local product who graduated from San Jose's Leland High School. The junior forward was the Broncos' leading scorer in 1999 and helped lead Santa Clara to its second-straight College Cup and the NCAA finals. He was named the Offensive MVP at the recent Santa Clara Adidas Classic after scoring two goals and adding two assists in the two games against UMKC and Cal.
Q: Talk a little about your decision to stay at home and attend Santa Clara University?
A: "In determining my decision to come here, athletics was a big part in it. But, academics was a big part too. It is a great school academically and athletically. It has been a dream of mine to play college soccer in front of my parents. Just like the game last night (UCLA, Sept. 28), I had so many relatives and friends there. You just can't beat that. That is what makes it special. I get a chance to share my experiences with them. It is nice to have my parents at every game. It makes me feel right at home."
"The academics at Santa Clara is tremendous. We also have a great tradition of soccer here. We've been to the College Cup the last two years and the program is regarded as one of the best in the nation. I went to DeAnza College my first year despite the fact that I had a 3.0 coming out of high school. The academic standards here are strong, as well they should be. When I finally got here, it was well worth it."
Q: Last year you were the team's leading scorer. Was there any pressure this year to come in and be the team leader?
A: "Well, I wasn't a starter last year. There is a big difference in the first 30 minutes or so and when I'd come into the game. The first 30 minutes are 100 miles-an-hour. So, when I'd come into the game, I'd be fresh and have a whole different mindset. I felt really relaxed and there wasn't much pressure on me. This year is different. I knew I could contribute and I wanted to and was expected to. I think I put more pressure on myself than anything. We all expect each other to do well, whether it is on defense, on offense or in goal. I think we all put extra pressure on ourselves. I talked to the coaches about it and they encouraged me to relax. Once I stopped worrying about how I was performing, I started scoring goals and things kind of fell in place."
Q: Do you feel more comfortable now than you did to start the season?
A: "At the start of any season, you always want to get off to a good start. There are a lot of things in the back of your head. Like 'I've gotta do this' or 'I've gotta do that.' Now, I am relaxed. I know now what it will take and it is all coming together. I am trying not to rush anything and it is falling into place."
Q: Describe the chemistry on this year's team.
A: "I think we have better chemistry on this year's team than we had the last two years. Especially, considering how many new people we have on the team. The past two years we had a lot of returning players. This year, from the freshmen to the seniors, we are all on the same level. We all have an expectation of each other and everyone is contributing. We all respect each other on and off the field. That helps, especially in tight games. We have had freshmen contribute this year, which is huge."
Q: What is it going to take to be successful in the last half of the season?
A: "I think we are playing well. The intensity is there. We are working the ball better. We are creating chances. It is just a matter of time before we explode and start hammering teams. I think we are doing everything pretty well right now. Take a game like last night (UCLA), which we should have won. Games like that make or break you in the end, but they really help you get better. We will be fine during the last half of the season and we feel we can beat anybody at any given time."
Q: What makes Santa Clara such as special place for you?
A: "I really enjoy (being at Santa Clara University). The people here are so unique. Everybody knows everyone. Even when you see people on campus you don't even know, they smile and say hi. It is such a tight-knit university. I know a lot of people here, obviously, being local. But, you really have the cream-of-the-crop here, whether it is sports, academics or any other part of the university. Everybody here has the potential to be the best at what they are going to be. Whether it is a pro soccer star, a pro basketball star, a famous writer - anything. It is awesome. You are going to look back on these days and say 'I knew that person.' They are going to be famous in some way. That is such an incredible feeling. Santa Clara University is a special place and I wouldn't trade being here for anywhere else."