Tim Trilk is an American professional soccer player, currently playing for the Chattanooga Red Wolves SC of the USL League One. A great goalkeeper, Trilk played collegiate soccer at Western Illinois University. At WIU, Trilk became a star, being fourth in program history in minutes in net. After a highly successful college soccer career, Trilk signed with the Chattanooga Red Wolves to mark the start of his professional career. A true professional at such a young age, Trilk is up to big things and is looking to make a name for himself of the professional scene.
The Tim Trilk Interview
1. Growing up in Illinois, what was your youth career like?
Growing up in Rockford I had a lot of opportunities for my youth career. I played for a smaller club called Rock Run for the majority of my youth career and eventually switched over to the larger club in town Rockford Raptors FC for my final two years before leaving for college. The club level was competitive in Northern Illinois with all the clubs in the suburbs of Chicago all within an hour to an hour and a half of each other.
2. What did it mean for you to commit to a close-to-home school in Western Illinois?
When I was going through the recruiting process, I originally wanted to go far away from home. My parents wanted me to stay closer to home and Western ended up making me an offer that was very hard to turn down and everything really worked out. My parents were able to make almost every home game and many games on the road as well which was always nice to have that support.
3. What’s your biggest tip for players looking to get recruited by college coaches?
My biggest tip for players looking to get recruited by college coaches is do not be afraid to reach out to a coach first. Coaches have so much on their plates all year long that it’s impossible for them to find every player by themselves. Almost every offer I received came from me initiating contact with the coaches.
4. In your freshman season, you saw action of four games and were named 2016-2017 Summit League Academic Honor Roll. How was your transition from high school to college?
My transition from high school to college was a rough one. I was younger for my class, starting preseason at only 17 years old freshman year, and came in undersized as well. I didn’t expect to be the starter my freshman season, but our first trip down to Nashville to play Belmont Coach Johnson named me the starter and I was shocked. Unfortunately, in those four starts I didn’t get the job done and quickly found myself on the bench and eventually sliding all the way down to off the travel roster. It was a real reality check for me right from the start.
5. As a sophomore your became a star, ranking second in the league with a .791 save %. What was that sophomore season like for you as you finally got your first glimpse of a full collegiate season?
My sophomore season was the complete opposite of my freshman year. I put in the work all spring and summer and showed up for preseason ready to win the number 1 spot and did just that. I was living the dream, starting at a Division 1 school was a very rewarding feeling and during that season I fell in love with the program at WIU. I suffered an injury part way through the season which sidelined me for some crucial games and during that time is when I knew I wanted to make a career out of soccer.
6. Your following two years at with the Leathernecks saw you become a legend. Being named First-Team All League as a senior and tied the program record with 4 Player of the Week Awards. What’s your most memorable collegiate experience?
It is hard to pick one memory as my favorite from my college career. My entire senior campaign was the craziest season I have ever been a part of and the most fun I have ever had playing soccer. Starting that season 0-11 to beating Denver for the first time in program history and then going on a run to win the regular season Summit League Title on the road at #20 Oral Roberts was an experience I will never forget.
7. How do you think college soccer helped your prepare for the professional level?
College soccer prepared me very well for the professional level. Coach Johnson never went easy on me and forced me to work for everything even when I was playing the best soccer of my life, he always pointed out what I could be doing better.
8. In January, you signed your first professional contract with the Chattanooga RedWolves Soccer Club. What were you thinking as your finally signed that contract?
When I got that contract offer, I was thrilled. I felt like all my hard work, time, and efforts had paid off and it was a dream come true. At the same time, I knew it meant that it was time to go to work again.
9. How was your time in Chattanooga been so far?
My time in Chattanooga has been wonderful. Going to training with players every day that have played at all different levels all over the world I have been able to learn so much in just a short time. Even with the quarantine I have been able to become a student of the game and work with teammates and the coaching staff off the field to enhance aspects of my game for when we return to the training pitch.
10. Who’s your greatest role model and why?
My greatest role model is my father. He works hard in everything he does and no matter what life throws at him he always finds a way to overcome that obstacle and learn from it. He has always been an incredible father, coach, fan, and friend and without the life lessons he has taught me throughout my life I wouldn’t be in the position I am.
11. If you could sit down and eat dinner with three people, who would they be?
If I could have dinner with any 3 people it would be Gordon Ramsay, Pat McAfee, and Dave Chapelle. My biggest hobby is cooking and I love watching anything that Gordon Ramsay does whether it’s Kitchen Nightmares, Master Chef, Hells Kitchen, etc. Any chance you get to have a meal with Gordon Ramsay you couldn’t pass that up. Pat McAfee is just an incredible human being. I listen to his podcast during breakfast every morning it comes out and he’s got so many great stories and such an electric personality that he would be a blast to hang with. Dave Chapelle is pretty self-explanatory. One of, if not, the greatest comedians ever and I love to have a good laugh.
12. What’s the coolest stadium you’ve ever played in?
I have played in a couple pretty cool stadiums throughout college. I think my favorite was University of Nebraska-Omaha. It used to be a football stadium but they converted it to a soccer specific stadium with a jumbo-tron and it was a very professional atmosphere. They always had a lot of fans that were loud all game long and they were right on top of you.
13. How are you and your team staying fit while in quarantine?
We have done a few things to stay fit during quarantine. Twice a week we would do team workouts over a Zoom call with some fitness and strength activities, a lot of high intensity quick reps. On the other days, our coaching staff would send out workouts for the players to complete at home.
14. What’s your biggest advice for other goalkeepers out there looking to improve?
My advice for other goalkeepers out there trying to improve is to study and watch other goalkeepers that are playing at high levels. Watching how each individual goalkeeper approaches situations and then trying to apply them to your game is huge. This gives you the chance to find what works best for you and then you can work to perfect it.
15. What are your main goals for this season (when it resumes)?
My main goal for this season is to help the team in any way that I can. Whether that is on the field on game day or in training pushing other players to be at their best at all times, whatever brings a championship to Chattanooga.
Founder, The Sports Court
Big thanks to Tim for the great interview! Hope you're staying safe and healthy right now! Good luck this season! All the best!
photo via https://goleathernecks.com/sports