October 12, 2011

10 Years Later: Remembering The 2001 Santa Clara Women's Soccer National Championship with Kristi Candau

Click here for more interviews from the 2001 team!

Every great team must have not only great starters but a deep set of reserves as well. Whether they are thrust into a starting role due to injury or they are coming off the bench to provide fresh legs, a reserve must be ready at all times. Kristi Candau (KC) was one of the key reserves for the 2001 Santa Clara national championship team. She appeared in 23 games while only making three starts. She made the most of her opportunities by scoring eight goals and adding three assists to rank fifth on the team with 19 points. SantaClaraBroncos.com (SBC) recently talked with Candau about her time experience of being a national champion.

SCB: What have you been up to recently?
KC: I am working as a nurse in the operating room at an orthopedic surgery center. 

SCB: Are you still involved in soccer?
KC: Yes I play in a coed beer league in Palo Alto. 

SCB: What was your fondest memory of your experience with the national championship team?
KC: My fondest memory was our trip to the White House for Champions Day with other NCAA championship teams. 

SCB: What do you think was so special about that group?
KC: I think what was so special about our team was that regardless of our differences we were able to all buy into the same goal and come together to obtain it. Our road to the championship was not an easy one; it was filled with ups and downs both on and off the field. Through it all, it always seemed like someone on the team had your back and helped pick you up and move forward. 

SCB: How would you describe the team chemistry on that 2001 team?
KC: The team chemistry was great. We knew how to have fun on and off the field but we also knew when it was business time. 

SCB: Specifically, what did this team do well?
KC: This team knew how to grind out wins, how to train hard to prepare, how to compete, how to come from behind and how to deal with adversity. 

SCB: How would you describe the moment that the timer ended and you were a national champion?
KC: I think I blacked out. I tried not to look at the clock because I knew time was going really, really, really slowly. Once it was over and I saw people celebrating the reality set in and I couldn't wait to celebrate what we had worked so hard for. 

SCB: What characteristic of yours do you feel most contributed to helping the team win?
KC: Aside from my awesome goal celebrations? I think that our team was so full of talented players who constantly led by example and who always worked very hard and took every training session and game very seriously. I tried to provide a certain balance by keeping things light hearted and fun. I always tried to find balance in my own life and stay grounded. I tried to embody that by supporting my teammates in all aspects of their life. 

SCB: What was the atmosphere like upon returning to Santa Clara after the game?
KC: It was such a warm and supportive environment. The entire school, our friends, family and alumni all gave us tremendous support and praise. We felt like we had won the championship not just for ourselves but for all of them as well. 

SCB: What do you miss most about playing for Santa Clara?
KC: I miss game days and Saturday morning practice. I loved waking up Friday mornings knowing that we were going to play under the lights that night. Everything from pre-game meals, my pre-game dance party with my roommate Kate, the countless hours in the training room with Carrie and Scott, Cembi's lucky tape jobs, our warm-up mix and walking out on the field until that moment the first whistle blew. I loved it all. And Saturday morning practices, well that's something the team can appreciate and laugh about. 

SCB: How do you think the experience of being a national champion has effected your life? What has it taught you?
KC: It was such a positive experience that I will cherish forever. It taught me the value of hard work and being a team player. Anytime I have told people that I played for a National Champion their reaction reminds me of just how special of an accomplishment this was and how few people can say that. It has taught me to always strive to be the best in everything that I do.