Q&A With MLS Defender Geoff Cameron

Cameron (left) was a Rookie of the Year finalist in 2008. (Photo: Tom Shea/Houston Dynamo)

Geoff Cameron was one of the top rookies in Major League Soccer during the 2008 season, immediately putting himself on the map. After finishing his college career at the University of Rhode Island, Cameron was a third-round pick of the Houston Dynamo. The Attleboro, Massachusetts native has since become an MLS regular due largely to his ability to play multiple positions. The up-and-coming star took time during the Dynamo's playoff run to talk to Active.com about his career.

What sports did you play growing up, and when did you figure out that soccer was going to be the one you would succeed at?
My dad was a big hockey player and has played hockey his whole life. I grew up watching hockey and basketball and a little bit of soccer. My first sport was hockey. I don't know whether my dad tied my skates too tight or what, but I didn't love it as much as he wanted me to. He wanted me to get involved in some sports so I picked up soccer. I picked up basketball while I was playing soccer, but I gave it up in about 6th grade and devoted all my time to soccer.

When did you get the sense that not only would Division I soccer be in your future, but maybe even professional soccer?
I would say U-14. I loved soccer so much. People would always say 'You're playing too much soccer, you're going to get worn out.' The funny thing is, I never got worn out. I always wanted to play, even when I didn't have soccer practice or anything like that. My dad could've played professional in hockey, but he let other things distract him. He influenced me ... I dedicate a lot of that to him, because he pushed me in the right direction and he was hard on me. Even at U-16, he was trying to get me to do the right thing. Instead of going to my friend's house and hanging out with my buddies, I would go in the backyard and juggle or kick some balls against the house or something.

How important is self-motivation? All the great coaches say to get good, you've got to be doing a lot of work on your own.
I think it's the most important thing as an individual. You learn to discipline yourself and you learn that dedication and that hard work pays off. You go home from school and do your homework, then you go outside and you start dribbling the ball and getting touches. All that kind of stuff is the best way to develop your game.

And of course, watching it. When you're watching the game you start to understand it better and better. You can watch people's positions and understand the tactics and stuff like that. I did a lot of that. My grandfather would tape (English Premier League) games for me and I would sit down and watch them with him. I think it paid off.

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