20 Questions Vol. II: Alex Tapp

This is our second in a series of 20 questions from interesting soccer people.  I met Alex during the National Youth License Course in May 2012.  He is currently working with the Lonestar Soccer Club, and, as you can see from his post, is a converted Austinite.  So here’s to Amy’s Ice Cream, Barton Creek, BBQ, Kirby Lane pancakes, and live music…

1. Where are you from?

South London, England

2. When did you start playing soccer?
I always had a ball at my feet as soon as I could walk. I was probably around 8 or 9 years old when I started with a team.
3. How often did you play soccer as a youth?
Every day! Probably too much at one point. School, club, district, county. It was 7 days a week. (emphasis added)
4. What teams/organizations did you play for?  
 I played professionally for Wimbledon FC and Milton Keynes Dons for over 10 years. As a youth, I was lucky enough to play for my country at U15 level.

5. Did you play sports other than soccer?  If so, did you ever get to a point where you stopped playing sports other than soccer?
I was huge into cricket and played to a pretty high level. But as soon as the soccer season rolled around, that was it. In the end I had to choose, and I chose soccer. I still love cricket, but have to get up really early to watch it!
6. What position did you play? 
 Predominantly a midfielder. But I am left-footed so I also played on the left wing and as left defender.
7. At what age did you specialize in a certain position?

From around 12 to 16, I was a center midfielder. I learned and developed other positions after the age of 17, when I turned pro.  This is probably backwards to how we teach young players today.

8.What was the highlight of your playing days?
My professional debut, when I was 18, was pretty special. Also, playing for England at Wembley against Brazil and against Germany in Munich Stadium. There were 70,000 people there. I won’t forget that.
9. What is your preferred style of play?  Possession?  Counter?  Winger style (crossing)?  etc.
Depends really. I believe you need to develop many styles to adapt to certain game situations. Counter and crossing can be exciting to watch. The purists love the possession style of play. Barcelona are the team who have it right now. Harder to do than it looks though!
10. Who is your favorite club team?  Why?
 Manchester United. Dad was a fan so I grew up with it. I get loads of abuse for it though. People I think I just support them because of their success for the last 20 years. But I remember Ferguson
 almost getting fired back in 1990 if they didn’t win against Notts Forrest. They won and went on to win the FA cup that year.
11. Best English sitcom is . …?
The Office or Only Fools and Horses.
12. Best American sitcom is….?
 Louis C.K.’s show Louie.  Genius! (Note, Louie is on FX if you are interested).
13. What is your current job title?
 I am currently the Assistant Director to the Division One girls’ program at Lonestar Soccer Club (Austin, Texas).
14. What licenses do you hold?
National Youth License.
15. Favorite band or singer?
James Blake and Bon Iver. Also, Bright Light Social Hour who are from Austin!
16. Favorite food?
There’s probably not a food I don’t like, except fast food–rubbish!  I love trying new things. Austin has a great food scene.
17. Who has been your biggest inspiration?
 Lots of people for lots of different things. For soccer, Bryan Robson, Manchester United midfielder.
18. How do you like living in Austin?  
Love it! It would take a lot for me to move from here! There is something for everyone in Austin. A great outdoors city. But don’t tell anyone!!!
19.  What is the differences or similarities with youth soccer in England and US?
Girls youth soccer here is way more advanced. I love that the girls have the same opportunities here as the boys. US has many coaches who have a desire to learn and get better. I think there is huge potential for US youth soccer to do big things. It just takes time. English soccer is in the young players’ blood. They live and breathe it. Watching the game is so important. Thats one thing missing here. Live games and TV games need to be more accessible.
20. Do you hate OU?  (yet)  
Of course! Hook em! Haven’t been to a Red River Showdown yet, but it is definitely on my list! This year will be interesting…not too sure about the 2 QB system at UT though. Hopefully the defense can stand up.
(From me….you would think UT would have learned its lesson on 2 QBs…we have all seen this show).
Bonus Question:  Given your background in cricket, what do you think of American baseball?
Well I think my opinions on baseball would be the same for baseball fans on cricket!  It looks more like a hobby or a past time.  I’ve never got into it like I have other US sports.  But I think if you grow up with baseball you appreciate it more. It’s the same with cricket. Anyone watching it for the first time struggles with it.

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