Sept. 14, 2012
BERKELEY - CalBears.com caught up with senior midfielder Tony Salciccia to chat about the season, his teammates, the FIFA video game and the Hand of God. The Cal co-captain and San Jose, Calif., product has started all five games so far and leads the Golden Bears in goals (3) and points (7). The Bears will next play San Francisco at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16, at Edwards Stadium.
CalBears.com: How's the season going?
Tony Salciccia: The season's going well so far. The East Coast trip was definitely a tough one for us, but we got some positives coming out of that trip. We came back home and had two really good games and good results.
CalBears.com: Can you believe you're already a senior?
TS: This whole experience has been flying by very fast. It's still very jaw dropping to look at myself and know that I'm a senior
CalBears.com: Including Sunday's game vs. San Francisco, you have eight more home games (in the regular season at least) left in your Cal career. Do you ever think about that?
TS: I definitely think about it. I'm close with former teammates, like Hector Jimenez, and when he was a senior he would count down the games. He would think, This could be my last home game, last playoff game, last game as a Bear. During the National Anthem the last few games I've been thinking the same thing. It's starting to dwindle down.
CalBears.com: In what ways has your game improved through your years at Cal?
TS: All around offensively and defensively I've grown a lot as a player. I've transformed a lot and value defending a lot more. My defensive tactics have improved tremendously. Offensively I've learned a lot of new ways to attack.
CalBears.com: You play alongside another talented midfielder in Seth Casiple, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in 2011. What do you expect from him this year and in the future?
TS: Seth is a great player, a special player. The good thing is he's a pretty complete player. Defensively he has great values to him, and offensively he's one of a kind. Not a lot of players out there who can change a game like him. He's a great passer of the ball, great striker of the ball, and he has a great future with the Bears. I'm looking forward to following Cal in the next few years especially with him being on the team.
CalBears.com: Speaking of 2011, it was a challenging year for the team. Why will things be different in 2012?
TS: We've just grown a lot as a group. The whole group has matured so much since spring soccer, and the summer trip to Italy helped out tons. We've matured on the field and off the field. We're a lot stronger and have lot more will to win games. In the close games - we had a lot of them not go our way last year - we're going to make sure we do what we can to make plays and win more of those games.
CalBears.com: Does the team have more depth this season?
TS: This is a very strong team. Even when go to our bench, sometimes we get stronger. We have great weapons coming off the bench. We have a group of six other guys on the bench who can start on our team.
CalBears.com: One of the team's three newcomers is Ryan Moore, who transferred from Washington. What was it like to play against him when he was a Husky?
TS: I played against him at club level, too. He had a different role with the Huskies as a forward, the No. 10 role. He was a handful, but here at Cal we switched him to defense. We It's good to have him on our side now, whether offensively or defensively.
CalBears.com: Cal men's soccer has already played one game on the Pac-12 Networks and has seven more scheduled for conference television. What does it mean for the program to have that much exposure on TV?
TS: We're pretty fortunate as a team to have the Pac-12 Networks. It's pretty cool. Hector Jimenez told me he's got the channel. It's great for him to be able to watch the Central Florida game and give me some feedback.
CalBears.com: What do you think of the team's new white uniform, which looks like the U.S. national team's kit?
TS: I like the new jersey a lot. Out of my four years at Cal we hadn't had a jersey with that stripe down the middle. In talking to the alumni, who saw pictures of it and saw it on TV, they all seem to like it. It's a good look.
CalBears.com: How well do you play the FIFA video game?
TS: Pretty well. Teddy Jones and I are always battling back and forth. We have tournaments with our Cal team, and I got all the way to the final in one of the last ones.
CalBears.com: What team do you play as when you play FIFA?
TS: I'm strictly always Italian clubs - I usually use Milan or Roma - and always use Italy's national team.
CalBears.com: What's the most-played song on your iPod?
TS: Probably ACDC's "Back in Black."
CalBears.com: What song or songs inspire you the most as you prepare for a game?
TS: That's definitely one of them. I like classic rock like ACDC and Led Zeppelin. That gets me pumped up.
CalBears.com: What's your favorite movie?
TS: It would probably have to "Maradona: The Hand of God."