No matter how big the game is, there is something that Scranton Prep sophomore soccer star Cullen Myers will always try to avoid: those pregame warm-ups. For Myers, it’s a ritual that he tries to do before every single game. Why is that? What would he rather do instead?
Well, Myers answered those questions along with those about his big week and teammates and also provided some of his thoughts on the sport’s growing popularity in America in this week’s edition of ATHLETE OF THE WEEK. Here’s more from his interview with staff writer Shane Hennigan:
Do you have rituals or superstitions? I usually say a prayer before every game. And I hate warm-ups. Anytime I can not have to warm up with the team, I’ll do that because I just hate warm-ups. If we’re shooting around after we do our passing drills and all that, I’d rather just sit on the sidelines and just drink water. It’s too nervous to do anything.
You obviously had a big scoring week. What was working that allowed you to do so? It was just a matter of my teammates being able to get me the ball in the spaces I needed and just determination that this week was going be a great week. We just played great as a team and the stats show up as they are.
You scored both of your goals in the second half of that game. What did it feel like for you to be able to step in that situation when your team needed you? It was great. When I was little and I’d watch my brother play against Abington Heights, I’d see how big those games were. You always think about what you would do if you were in those games. And to be able to score those two goals and kind of make a dream come true, it was awesome.
You said the goal that you scored to give you guys a 2-1 lead was just about being optimistic and taking a chance that they gave you. How did that play develop to allow you to score? We got a throw-in on the sideline. Abington Heights was still cheering and looking to attack more. I got it thrown and was able to beat one guy and saw that I had open shot from 20-25 yards out. I just hit and it was able to go over their goalkeeper Jackson Danzig, who I know well and is a good friend. There was a little bit of luck there because it happened to dip right before the bar. I loved it.
What does this 4-0 start do for you guys going forward? It’s huge momentum, especially going into this week where we have Wallenpaupack and Delaware Valley, two great programs.
What was the mindset of the team like in the weeks leading up to the start of the season? Our mindset was that we have young guys and a mix of veterans and that no one was really expecting us to do anything. And we like that. We relish us being the underdogs and we like to prove people wrong. We were kind of flying under the radar and we love that. We took it and obviously have had a good start.
You’re not the only scorer on the team, as Corbin White and Justin Hammert have each scored four goals so far. What does that do for you knowing that you don’t always have to be the guy at all times? Just to have it spread out equally among us three is a perfect way to attack. It just fits so well and all three of us have great chemistry. We know where everyone is at all times. It’s great playing with those two guys.
You have a pair of leaders in twin seniors Justin and Blake Hammert. What’s their relationship like? Blake is more like the person that keeps it all in order and is just purely focused on soccer and getting things done. Justin’s more of the comic relief. He still takes it seriously and he still cares about winning but whenever we’re down and out, Justin’s always the one that can make it better.
So I understand that even though you’re 16 years old, you still don’t have your driver’s permit. Is that correct? Yeah, it’s funny because I was actually over in Europe this summer when I turned 16 so it hasn’t even really crossed my mind yet. I was over there with my travel soccer team, which was pretty cool because a lot of teammates are from the area and play at schools including Lakeland, Abington Heights, Valley View, Scranton, Tunkhannock and Crestwood. So now, whenever I go against them in high school, it makes for some interesting subplots.
What are your thoughts on soccer’s growing popularity in this country, especially with the success of the U.S. Men’s National team last summer and then the Women’s team winning the World Cup this summer? It’s great, especially with the Women’s World Cup. Every person watched that and that’s great. Soccer is definitely growing in popularity and that’s great because I love the sport. I hope it gets bigger in the United States. We’re heading in the right direction. I always used to complain about the lack of coverage in soccer everywhere in America and you can see now that it’s really starting to get covered both overseas and here. It’s exactly what we need.