Soccer's Alejandro Bedoya Shares Midseason Thoughts
Oct. 11, 2007
Junior midfielder Alejandro Bedoya has tallied 19 points on six goals and seven assists in leading the Eagles to a 7-2-1 overall record. Bedoya, a Weston, Fla. native, played two seasons at Fairleigh Dickinson University before transferring to Boston College for the 2007 spring semester. The Eagles, unbeaten in ACC play (4-0-0), will host Providence in a non-conference match on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m.
You enjoyed two very successful seasons at Fairleigh Dickinson University. What prompted you to transfer?
I wasn't getting what I wanted out of FDU. From a soccer standpoint, I wanted more. I've always loved the ACC. It's the toughest and most competitive conference and my competitive nature just told me I needed to be in the ACC. Coming out of high school, I was being recruited by ACC schools. It just so happens that Ed Kelly coached my dad back when he went to FDU, so it was an easy contact with BC. Ed saw what I could do and I decided to come over here, both for soccer and academics.
Why did you choose Boston College?
My mom always tried to talk to me into being in Boston. She loved the area, the college life and everything. When I came here for my visit, I liked the atmosphere, I liked the guys. BC wasn't a power in the ACC, but I like being that kind of underdog. I like trying to achieve and become really competitive and I think that's what we're going for this year.
Has BC lived up to your expectations - soccer-wise, academically, campus environment? Any surprises? Anything that you didn't expect - for better or worse?
BC has surpassed my expectations - academically, socially. The people around here are great and the atmosphere with soccer and everything is great. Soccer has been going well, obviously, and academically it's what I wanted, a challenge. BC is a top academic school in the nation, so it's great.
After playing four ACC matches, give us your impression of ACC soccer - style of play, intensity, etc.
The ACC is so competitive. Each and every game is so tough. I know some of the players from playing against them and playing with them at the national level. The conference I used to play in [Northeast Conference] didn't really play as much soccer as they do in the ACC. It was more about possession. The ACC is more organized and so much more competitive.
Through 10 games, you lead the team with six goals and seven assists. You now lead the ACC with 19 points. Talk about the success you've enjoyed so far. What's been the key?
The success I've enjoyed is having the record as a team and being ranked up there as one of the top teams in the nation. For me, personally, all the accolades are great, but in the end, it's the team that wins. As everybody says, there's no "I" in team. It's so true because without my teammates, I wouldn't have been able to do it. In the end, it's not `Alejandro Bedoya won the game.' It's "Boston College won the game."
Have you been working on any particular skills in your game?
I've been working on improving my first touch. Sometimes I'll stay behind after practice and take some extra shots, work on my finishing. I'm just working hard every practice, trying to get better.
For someone who's never seen you play, can you describe your style of play and how you get your job done? What goes through your mind throughout the 90-minute match?
In my mind, I always try to get focused. I'm not your Cristiano Ronaldo. I'm not the type of player that's fancy with the ball and does all these step-overs. I'm more of a simple player. I think I have great vision on the field. I play one-twos and always look for an imbalance in teams, like a 2 v 1. I use my speed a lot to attack players. I feel like I have great speed. I also use my mind to outmaneuver people.
It's impossible to get to this level and enjoy the success you've enjoyed on your own. Who has had the biggest influence on your soccer career? What advice has that person given you? What have they taught/shown you?
The biggest role model in my career has definitely been my father. He's always been there since I was little. We would always go out to the park and train together. He taught me things that he learned. He offers me advice, day in and day out. I talk to him every day and he'll give me a new quote, new advice. From when I was little, he's always told me what I need to work on, improve on. I think one of the key assets he brings me is his constructive criticism. He's so objective. He's not the type of dad who would tell me, "You messed up really bad". He'll tell me that I did not play well, but then tell me what I could do to improve my game. He's always taught me to be humble in victory and defeat. He always told me that I'm as good as he is or better, so my goal is to be a lot better.
Despite a disappointing loss to another nationally-ranked team last night, it's safe to say the team is off to a remarkable start. What has been the secret to the team's success?
I think the secret has been the camaraderie between the teammates. Everyone gets along really well with each other and that transcends to the soccer field. Everybody's so friendly. From the beginning, I kind of stepped up in a leadership role and told everybody how optimistic I was in seeing that we do have really good players. Everybody's come along together, we're all good friends. It's just that team chemistry that we have that drives us to do well.
What was it like to transfer to BC and have to start over with a new group of teammates?
It was good. I wasn't really worried about meeting new people. Usually, you try to prove yourself. You come to practice or the first game or whatever you play in the spring and you just try to showcase and prove that you are one the players that can play on the team. Everybody here was friendly and they came up to me with open arms, so I appreciate that. All the kids are great kids.
Talk about some of your teammates, specifically those in the midfield and up front. Give us some names and tell us a bit about their play/strengths.
This team has great talent. I feel like people think we're underdogs, but they don't realize that we do have great talent. I am surrounded by a lot of great players. Being able to play the ball without worrying about a teammate losing the ball is great for our confidence. I think our midfield is one of the best in the nation. The way we play is kind of a 4-3-3, but then you could also say it's a 4-5-1 because of the way we play. Reuben Ayarna is a great midfielder. He has great vision and strength in the back. He's easy to play along with. Karl Reddick is a newcomer, but as a freshman he's done remarkably well. He's more defensive, but he has great attacking skills, too. He reads the game really well, too. He has great touch. Mike Konicoff is a good player. He holds the ball really well and he does well at attacking players, too. Our outside midfielders do well at attacking players. Our coaches say we should take on the defenders. You might go at a defender 10 times, but you'll beat him nine out of 10 times, so you're only losing the ball one time, and you're still attacking. Shawn Chin is a great player. He's been starting as a freshman. I know him from back home. He's a great asset to the team, as well.
Chris Brown has obviously been a key to the team's success. Can you talk about him and how his play has impacted the team?
Chris is remarkable. If you haven't seen him play, you have to watch him play because some of the saves he's made are unbelievable. I can go through every game and pick out a save that he's made that has kept us in the game. Against Yale, we didn't have our best game, but he just came up huge with saves. The momentum from a big save just carries on. Against UNC, we could have lost that game if it weren't for Chris. He made outstanding saves and kept us in the game. He's huge in net.
With a five-day gap between games, how does the team stay focused as it prepares to face Providence?
Coming off of a loss, especially, we just have to practice even harder. We have to maintain our focus and treat it as just another loss. Providence, a non-conference game, is a big game for us because to get in the NCAA Tournament, they look at your non-conference schedule. We can't take any team lightly because there is so much parity in the college game. Anything can happen on any given day in college soccer. We just have to keep our heads up, stay focused and play our game. We didn't play our game against Brown and we lost, but if we play our game, I don't think there are many teams in the nation that can beat us.
Obviously, most of your time now is consumed by soccer and your school work. When you do have free time, what do you enjoy doing?
I'm on the computer a lot, on the internet. We soccer kids like to go on youtube.com and look at soccer videos and see what things we can improve on. Sometimes I like to watch my own games and criticize myself and see what I could've done better in certain situations. I like hanging out with the kids on the team, my friends. We're really close. I have a girlfriend, too. I like spending time with my girlfriend, of course. Then, video games, too. I play FIFA, of course.
What's one thing about you - that you want to share - that very few people know?
I would say I'm humble, respectful. I'm a modest person. My dad's always told me, "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice." So, I keep that quote in mind every day.
Interview conducted by sophomore Geoffrey Kehlmann