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Interview #32- Matt Bolduc
Matt Bolduc an American professional soccer player for the Richmond Kickers of USL League 1. Bolduc, a New Hampshire native, played one year of college soccer at UMass. The midfielder then went on to sign with Mass United, which led him to his first professional contract when he signed with the Harrisburg City Islanders. After spending the 2016 season in Harrisburg, he then headed to Richmond, Virginia, where he signed with the Richmond Kickers. Bolduc has become a vital part to the Kickers squad, and he has high hopes on bringing silverware back to Richmond this upcoming season.
The Matt Bolduc Interview
1. Growing up in New Hampshire, what was your youth career like?
Growing up in New Hampshire is all I know. My youth career included me having to drive an hour to training and back twice a week. We were one of the few teams in the Region 1 Premier League (top league in NorthEast before Development Academy). This meant we had to drive from way up here all the way down to NYC, Maryland, Philly, Baltimore and many more places just to get competitive matches because of how far away we were from the top teams.
2. How were your initially recruited by the University of Massachusetts?
I was recruited by the late Sam Koch, long standing Umass Amherst head coach, in Birmingham. Alabama. I was there for the ODP Interregional tournament in 2011. I was the tournaments top scorer and he must’ve liked what he saw.
3. You only played one year at UMass, how was the year there? What did playing college ball teach you as a player??
The year was good, got to experience college and what that whole life was like. The college game didn’t teach me much but Sam Koch did. He instilled a hard working mentality and positivity towards yourself that has helped me gain confidence on the pitch and helped me make strides in my career since then.
4. After your year at UMass, you moved to Mass United of the ASL. What made you choose this move in your career?
I did move to Mass United. It was by default rather than by choice. I was invited to Harrisburg’s preseason that spring but upon arrival, in the second session, I suffered a high ankle sprain and a torn meniscus. They told me that I could come back when I was healthy so I went home. I rehabbed and then I played for Mass United because I needed to get back on the field for a while before I went for the USL again.
5. The following season, you signed you signed with the Harrisburg City Islanders. How were you feeling after signing for the Islanders?
Honestly I thought I was going to sign for them the year prior. Obviously I got injured and that was a set back. When I did sign for them in 2016 I felt vindicated and I felt like I deserved it. Yes, I was grateful but I also knew that it’s where I belonged.
6. In 2016, you made your first USL appearance against your future club, the Richmond Kickers. What was going through your mind as you stepped onto the pitch for the first time in a professional league?
In sports it’s a small world so it is a funny coincidence but yeah, when I was told I was going on, I felt the butterflies leave and pure excitement enter. Obviously I was nervous but my captain, Bobby Warshaw had told me before the game, that if I did get my chance that I should just treat it like any other game I’ve ever played. That helped a lot.
7. Overall, how was your time in Harrisburg?
My time in Harrisburg was good but a little underwhelming. The organization, without throwing anyone under the bus, wasn’t as professional as I had hoped. Although, I was given almost 1000 minutes of league match time and my teammates held me in high regard. I appreciate everything that club did for me because they gave me my first shot at professional soccer. Thanks to Bill Becher and his coaching staff, I can say that I will always have a soft spot for that club in my heart.
8. In 2017, you signed for the Richmond Kickers, and have since become a key part to their team, what does the Richmond Kickers organization mean to you?
Everything right now. I hope to break the 50 cap mark for them this season. I want to bring playoff soccer back to Richmond, where it belongs. Leigh Cowlishaw, my first coach in Richmond is a huge influence and since then has helped me grow as a player and as a man. Luckily, the fans and my coaches love me and support me so I can do my job to the best of my ability. I love the red and white of Richmond and always will. Come on you Kickers!!!
9. You mentioned how you faced a few setbacks due to injuries before signing your first professional contract. What would your advice for people who are currently on the shelf with an injury?
If you do get an injury that sidelines you for weeks or a couple months, it’s best to get a routine involving your rehab as soon as possible and just know that its a set back in the short term. Don’t let it take over your thought process!
10. Who’s your biggest role model?
My biggest role model has to be a combination of both my parents. Obviously I could pick somebody I look up to on the field like Leo Messi or Eden Hazard but my parents were always there for me. My dad has done everything for me and always supported me throughout my youth career until now and my mom, well she’s the best person on earth. Without them I wouldn’t be playing professional soccer. That’s a fact.
11. If you could go five years back in the past and tell your past self one thing, what would it be?
Everything’s going to work out the way you planned. Keep your head up and do it the exact same way. I wouldn’t change a thing.
12. What’s the biggest misconception about being a professional?
The biggest misconception is that we have everything given to us and all of us made it because of our natural ability. It’s so far from the truth. My first captain in the pro game told me, “Natural talent is nothing without hard work.” A lot of the guys I’ve played with work their tails off day in day out.
13. Do you have any other hobbies outside of soccer, if so what are they?
Outside of soccer I like spending time with my dog, Tyke. He’s a pitbull-terrier mix! Also he’s my best friend. Another hobby which I hope to turn into some kind of career is Golf. I love golf, it’s a great escape and also very fun.
14. What’s your greatest memory from your playing career?
My greatest memory from my playing career has probably been my second goal for Richmond. We were playing in St Louis, second to last game of the season and I smashed a goal in to make it 1-0. Got to shush their home fans, it was amazing.
15. What’s your greatest strength?
My greatest strength is probably a combination of my speed and quickness. Not just physically but mentally as well.
16. What’s your biggest weakness?
My biggest weakness is probably my lack of confidence at times. Especially in my first couple of seasons when I’d lose a ball I’d spend too much time thinking about it and then I wouldn’t be focused on my next action.
16. What do you believe separates a professional from the rest?
What separates a pro from the rest is not only technical ability and execution, but consistency. All of my coaches in the pro game have preached consistency. A lot of guys can come in and play well for a day, a week, maybe even a month; but playing professionally and getting on the field week in week out is a result of consistent performance.
17. Any last words for the readers?
3 of my favorite quotes:
Whether you think you can or can’t do something, you’re right.
The children who the world breaks, are the ones that grow up to save it.
Thanks Matt for the amazing interview! Class player and even better person. Wishing you nothing but good luck this upcoming season!
photo via https://www.instagram.com/ma11bolduc/
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