BerkeleySportsBlog.com sits down with former Cal standout defender Steve Purdy. Purdy spent two seasons in Germany with 2. Bundesliga club 1860 Munich before returning to F.C. Dallas..
BSB: How has your season gone?
Purdy: “I spent two years in Germany and I was really excited to come back to America and I was doing really well in the preseason. I even started a few games but ever since then I've been injured. It's really just been one injury to another and just now I've been able to get back to full fitness but that's just been the story of the year. I haven't really been able to show myself yet in MLS but hopefully next year I won't have anymore injuries and I'll be able to demonstrate to America what type of player I am. I haven't really had a chance to play but I'll keep my head up for next year."
BSB: What was your experience with 1860 Munich like?
SP: "It was a great experience, obviously when I first got there I didn't know much about the culture or the language but once I learned those it was great. I was learning to play the European Style and how to become a Professional. Everything worked great but I got injured at the end of my contract with 1860 and I decided to come back to America. Overall, it was a great experience, I love the city and the people of Munich. I have many great friends there."
BSB: What's the perception of the American Player in Germany?
SP: "You go in as an American player and they all laugh at you. They ask what are you doing here or I didn't know Americans played soccer. It's rough at first because they don't give you the respect that they give other Germany players. You just have to gain and find that respect on the field but eventually it works great because they respect you as a soccer player and a person. But at first, its tough because they really look at you as someone who really doesn't know soccer and they're really surprised that this American is playing soccer."
Steve with the 1860 fifth from left on the second row
BSB: How do you describe yourself as a player?
SP: "I play defense and I'm a unique defender because I'm tall and slim but I also have great speed. I would say that my strength is my speed and my ability to win head balls. I also think that Germany helped me with my aggressiveness."
BSB: Any Players that you try to emulate?
SP: "I would say that John Terry of Chelsea and Nemenja Vidic who plays for Manchester United. I feel that these guys are players that I look up to and I try to copy their style of play because they are at the top level. I'm just trying to get as good as I can get, I am still young but there is always room to learn so I spend a lot of time watching players in other leagues to get better."
BSB: What's life like for an MLS Player?
SP: "For me, I feel like its like a normal life as if I was a teacher or working any 9-5 job. Compared to being in Munich where they absolutely love soccer, in Munich you have two teams Bayern Munich, one of the top teams in the world and 1860 who is their rival. On the streets in Munich, the people know you and what you've done. They think your big and they know who you are and congratulate you on your most recent game. Here (in Dallas), it's almost as though I'm just another person. A lot of people here don't even know who FC Dallas is so I would say that there isn't too much on the stardom side of being a professional soccer player. Obviously, after the match your fans come up to you and really look but to you but you don't get too much recognition around town for playing for FC Dallas."
BSB: Do you think that the MLS player is more accessible to their fans?
SP: "We're living the normal life just like the fans do. Obviously we play soccer for a living but we're not dealing with the paparazzi. When that happens to you, then you're probably playing on the LA Galaxy."
BSB: Do you still keep up with Cal's performance?
SP: "I definitely keep up. I'm in constant contact with Coach (Kevin) Grimes and I keep up with the players that I still know. I'm always keeping up and supporting them and even hoping to go to a game after our season is over especially the Stanford game."
BSB: How would you explain the rise of Cal's program?
SP: "We're definitely going in the right direction. Just from when I was a freshman to a senior and seeing the guys now, we're very successful every year. Coach Grimes has created a winning culture by bringing in talented players as well as those with character which creates that culture. Freshman come in and they look up to the seniors and I just feel that its a chain reaction and lead to more success for the Cal program. I was lucky because I got to look up to guys like Tyson Wahl and Calen Carr and try and fill their shoes. Cal was a great experience and Coach Grimes was a big part of that."
BSB: What aspects of Berkeley do you miss?
SP: "Cal was a great place and it was great to study in the top school in the world. And of course there was the soccer and to play for a successful team. It was great to be able to play with your best friends. That's what it was like when I was there all played for one another because we were so close. When you're a professional and add that money aspect to things, it becomes different which is what makes that experience so special."
"Playing with your best friends"
BSB: What were your hot spots in Berkeley?
SP: "There were so many places on Telegraph that I loved. I really loved Gypsy's Italian Food. I loved that place because I could get some quick Italian food. Plus places in Berkeley aren't chains restaurants, they're legit spots."
BSB: What was your Major at Berkeley?
SP: "I ended up as an American Studies Major but my real interest was architecture. I really wanted to go to architecture school but the demands of playing D-1 Collegiate soccer just take over so I tried to empathize architecture as much as I could. I still need to finish up so I will be back in Berkeley because my parents are going to make sure that I graduate."
BSB: At FC Dallas, you have a number of players who took part in the US Men's Residency Program like U-20 forward Brek Shea, how is your development as a collegiate player different than a player from the Residency?
SP: "When you're in college, its a completely different experience. Those guys in Residency are playing with the top players in their age. I know in college, a player is playing for something every year so it is constantly competitive while in residency although you're playing with the top players in your age, you don't have many competitions other than the U-17 or U-20 World Cups."
BSB: What's your favorite type of music?
SP: "I'm pretty open to all music. Its pretty funny because I've spent time in Germany and now I'm in Dallas where Country is a big thing. I used to hate it but now I can actually go through a song. For me the top music though has to be Rock or Hip Hop and artists like Kanye West."
Steve's living in the "flashing lights" of DFW
BSB: Country music really?
SP: "I really didn't like it before coming here but it is always on everywhere. You walk into the bar and Country music is playing in the background so when in Rome right?"
BSB: Any favorite TV Shows?
SP: "I love, I absolutely, love the Office and Curb your Enthusiasm. Those are just classic shows."
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