Sept. 26, 2007
BERKELEY - Guard Rachelle Federico is one of two freshmen on the eighth-ranked Cal women's basketball team this season. The product of Tucson, Ariz., earned honorable mention Street & Smith All-America recognition in 2005 and 2006 and was named second-team all-state, Southern Arizona Player of the Year and Southern Region Player of the Year after averaging 15 points and six rebounds per game as a junior. Federico shared with CalBears.com her enthusiasm for being at Cal, her family background and her interest in everything associated with Disney.
CalBears.com: Why did you decide to come to Cal?
Federico: "The team. We had fun on my official visit compared to my other visits. You have to have the vibe with the team because they're always going to be there. Tasha (Vital) was my host on the visit. We're a lot alike. She felt like a friend right away, which is hard to find because when you first meet people it can be awkward."
CalBears.com: What are your impressions of the Cal coaching staff?
Federico: "They're intense. I love it, though. They're young, energetic and experienced. Intense is the best word to describe them, but I like that because in high school things are often relaxed. It feels like a new sport with them. They bring out a new basketball in me."
CalBears.com: What are your strengths?
Federico: "I'm a shooter. Everyone says I have a nice stroke. Some people say I shoot like a guy. I have a couple dribble pull-ups, mostly pull-ups and jump shots. Coach B (Boyle) and I have talked about me needing to work on my defense. In club and high school, you play a lot of zone. You can relax a bit. Here's it's intense, which is good."
CalBears.com: Where did you get the nickname Mooch?
Federico: "My freshman year in high school we were making our first basketball trip. I asked my high school coach for some of his potato chips, and he called me `Mooch.' The name stuck. My teachers even know me by that nickname. I put Mooch Federico on a lot of my papers."
CalBears.com: Have you thought about your major yet?
Federico: "I'm thinking about going into mass communications. I want to do advertising or marketing."
CalBears.com: How did your interest in everything Disney start?
Federico: "It's been since I was a kid. My parents and grandparents are really big on it. I've gone to Disneyland twice a year since I was born. I grew to love it. It's a passion for me. Some people say it's so young and immature. But for me, it's different. It's not just a cartoon. It's more than that. Disneyland is my third home. I can draw the map right now. I can tell you where every bathroom break is and where every hotdog stand is. I know where all of the characters come out and special places you can go to meet certain characters.
"I love every Disney movie. I know every song in every movie. I know the history of the movies. My room back home is Tiki Disney. It's like the Tiki Room in Disneyland. It's jungle themed with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. I'm thinking about decorating my dorm room with Disney stuff, getting some posters. I have a whole castle set with little pieces that are collectors' items.
"I feel like a kid when I go to Disneyland. The Disney magic they speak of I feel it. The best moment is when you're driving on the freeway to get there and you see the Matterhorn poking out of the trees. Something takes over my body. It's so great. It might be genetic. My grandparents feel the same way. They love to go. It's not a chore to take the kids. It's been passed on. My dad is a huge Disney fan, too."
CalBears.com: Do you watch Disney Channel?
Federico: "Disney Channel is on every night. I have four sisters. They're all into Disney. I'm a huge `Phil of the Future' fan. I also like the new Winnie the Pooh episodes."
CalBears.com: What's your favorite Disney movie?
Federico: "I'd have to say Sleeping Beauty."
CalBears.com: Do you want to go to Disney World?
Federico: "No, I don't want to go. Disneyland was the original. I don't want to go to the duplicate."
CalBears.com: Did your parents play any sports?
Federico: "The main sports my parents are interested in are baseball and softball. That's what I was going to play until my sophomore year of high school. My mom played softball. My dad played baseball. He also played basketball in high school."
CalBears.com: What else do you enjoy doing?
Federico: "Softball was my dream. I love it. I still love it to this day. I started playing basketball in eighth grade. It was new to me, so I decided to stick with basketball. I can picture myself coaching an ASA softball team. I love music. I'm a huge music fan. I can listen to anything from classical, jazz, pop and R&B. I have 80s, 90s, 70s, 60s and 40s music. I try to be well rounded."
CalBears.com: Have academics always been important to you?
Federico: "My aunt, Nicole, is the only one in my close family who went to college. She always stressed to me the importance of academics. The reason for my success when I was younger was being competitive. She stressed to me the importance of grades if I wanted to play at Cal."