By, Carolyn Linck '11
Last season as a sophomore Mykell Bates, a defender from Roseville, California, led the Broncos in minutes played. Starting in all 20 games and inspiring his teammates with his toughness, consistency, and competitive nature, Bates is an essential component to the team's success. Looking forward to the 2010 season, Bates is eager to improve and win in his junior year. Recently Santaclarabroncos.com (SCB) talked with Mykell Bates (MB) about his role on the team, his goals for next season and the best part about playing soccer at SCU.
"Mykell Bates is a leader pure and simple," said SCU head coach Cameron Rast. "He brings a great intensity to our team having played at some of the highest levels of the game. Through that combination of leadership and focus, he lifts the level of our team. He is a true competitor for us and we will need that from him this season."
SCB: You led the team with 1,852 minutes played last season. What kind of physical toll did that take on your body?
MB: At the time of games and practices, I didn't really focus on the type of condition my body is in. My mind was solely focused on the next game and the next practice. All I wanted to do was get better, win and try to make it to playoffs, which is one of our goals this year. Mind over matter always seems to help. I would consider myself mentally strong as well as physically capable.
SCB: How have you been conditioning to get ready for the upcoming season?
MB: In order to get in shape for the upcoming season, I have to play and run on the side. During this past summer I've been playing with a PDL team in Seattle and doing a running program everyday that is really tough.
SCB: What aspects of your game are trying to improve most right now? How are you working on them?
MB: Aspects that I think I should improve the most at this point are technical ability and fitness. You can never be too fit in the game of soccer. The best way for me to work on those aspects are running, of course, and touching the ball as much as possible. Just getting comfortable with the ball at my feet will improve my game tremendously.
SCB: What aspects of your game do you feel are your strengths? Why?
MB: This must be a trick question. I don't like to boast or brag, I usually like for my talents to do the talking, but I think my strengths are defending one-one-one, leading my teammates and passing out to get the offense started.
SCB: What are your expectations for next season on a team and individual level?
MB: As always, we want to make it to the playoffs and win. Since the past two seasons have not been as successful as we had hoped, we would love to have a winning season and get a little taste of the playoffs. On a personal level, I want to play as much as I can like last year and just improve my game as a whole so I can help my team as much as possible to accomplish our team goals.
SCB: You're about to start your junior year. How is it different being an upper classmen? Do you feel you have more responsibility on the team now?
MB: I don't think the class rankings play a big role on the team only because everybody has an equal responsibility. I feel as though I do have more responsibility on the team because I am the captain and am one of the players that has more experience.
SCB: How do you approach your role as a leader on the team?
MB: I like the motto lead by example. It would be unfair to ask my teammate to do something that I cannot do.
SCB: Last year in the season opener you scored two goals. What was that like as a defensive player?
MB: Scoring goals as a defender always makes me feel good inside. All game I exert my energy stopping my opponents from scoring and to score myself is pretty much icing on the cake.
SCB: What do you like most about playing soccer at SCU?
MB: My teammates. My teammates and I have gone through a lot and I think that is what pulls us together.
SCB: What do you like most about being at student at SCU?
MB: The community here is great. Not only do other students see me as a soccer player, but as a fellow student.
SCB: What is your favorite memory so far from your soccer career at Santa Clara?
MB: Beating USF on national television was by far the best feeling so far for me.
The men's soccer team will kick off their season Sept. 1 at the UC Irvine Tournament in Irvine, Calif. and will play their home opener vs. Cal on Thurs, Sept. 16 at 7p.m. at Buck Shaw Stadium.