Written by James LeClercq
After coming off a tough loss to Cal last week, Michael Gates and the Broncos have their sights set on winning the conference and playing NCAA Tournament Soccer. Gates believes he and his teammates are ready to make the next step into becoming a NCAA Tournament contender. Knowing this may be his last season with the Broncos, he wants to potentially leave the program with no regrets.
SCU: Coming off a tough overtime loss to Cal, in what ways are you staying positive and focused on the goals ahead?
MG: I've learned that you need to have a short memory in the game. I understand we are not always going to have a perfect performance, and some things won't go our way. I'm definitely upset after losing whether it's a 1v1 in training or in overtime to top ranked Cal. However, we've come too far to lose our composure over that result. We have our sights set on playing NCAA tournament soccer, and winning the conference is the surefire way to achieve that. I believe this is a gifted and gritty group that is capable of a conference championship. Our focus and confidence is in tact.
SCU: What do you personally hope to accomplish during your final seasons with the Broncos? How about as a team?
(Gates has the option to play a fifth year as a redshirt senior)
MG: I want to impact the team in a consistently positive way. Ideally that impact will be through goals and assists when I'm in the game, but executing whatever is necessary to win is paramount. I touched on it already, but I want to win the conference and make a run in NCAAs. After being on the bubble the past two years it's high time to take the next step, and for the seniors to leave the program with success.
SCU: Are there any pregame rituals or routines you have?
MG: My routine is never exactly the same but I try to get myself in the best physical condition I can before the game. The right rest, nutrition, and treatment is important. The only ritual I have is, on my way to pre-game meal with Daus (Bronco teammate Mark Daus), we listen to the Jersey Boys Pandora station. They're not great, they're unbelievable. Wow, what a musical.
SCU: You played in 24 games the past two seasons; do you do anything in particular to keep healthy throughout the season?
MG: I try to take an ice bath after every training session, and sometimes twice a day. Those things are magical. Brand new legs every time. If you want my recipe it's 50 degrees for 12 minutes. I think everyone should use them as often as possible but it's an uncomfortable thing to do with the cold, but I'm obviously pretty tough. Also, I was never one much for naps but have learned to love them over the past couple years.
SCU: As a finance major, what lies ahead after graduation?
MG: Holy mackerel! I wrestle with that question all the time. I have ambitions to travel that weren't quite satisfied without a study abroad opportunity. I haven't found the business arena I'm most drawn to and talented at thus far, but I'm looking. I can say that I'm inspired by the work my father and extended family members do, and hope to follow in their footsteps someday.
SCU: Looking back, what's your favorite memory as a Bronco?
MG: Certain victories come to mind: at Duke last year, a comeback at USF, and winning the WCC title at home my freshman year. As a competitor those are certainly unforgettable moments in my life. Still when I look back at my time here at Santa Clara I think I'll remember the tough trainings, locker room tomfoolery, and road trips with the guys. While I'm here, no question, wins matter first and foremost. But the process as a whole, the moments throughout the days will affect who I become as a man. There is no question that the game will fade but these guys will remain.