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The Champion Within: For Santa Clara's Jide Ogunbiyi, The Time Is Now

Sept. 10, 2008

As a senior captain on Santa Clara's nationally ranked men's soccer team, Jide Ogunbiyi looks to lead the Broncos to their third consecutive WCC regular season title and their fifth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.

The senior forward took a few moments to talk to us about being a senior, facing adversity, competing for a spot on the Nigerian National Team, life after Santa Clara, and the WCC.

Q: How did you get involved with soccer and when did you start playing the game?

JO: I started playing around the age of four or five. My parents signed me up for the local intramural league and it just started from there.

Q: What are your career plans after you graduate and have you thought about playing soccer after college?

JO: That is the plan. Playing soccer is what I want to do. I'm just not sure where yet.

Q: Now that you're a senior, how do you see your role changing on the team and what are your team and personal goals for the season?

JO: There is more of a leadership role that comes with being a captain. Our team is young. We have a lot of freshmen and only three seniors. Our team goal is always to get to the College Cup and compete for a National Championship. And, of course, win the WCC title again. As for me personally, I just want to have a good senior season and go out on a high note.

Q: What do you enjoy most about soccer and what do you think is the best aspect of your game?

JO: That's a hard question to answer. I think what I like most is that soccer is a team sport and you can't accomplish anything on your own. We've had some tough weekends already and when you struggle you have to work harder with your coaches and your teammates. When everything comes together is what I enjoy the most. The best aspect of my game is the combination of my size and strength and my skill on the ball.

Q: Having nearly made the Nigerian Olympic team this summer, are you planning on competing for a spot on the 2012 Nigerian Olympic team and what are some things that you'll need to work on to accomplish that goal?


JO: For the men (Olympic Tournament), it's an under-23 competition and they are only allowed to bring three overage players onto the roster. Because of that it's hard to say that they would look towards me to be one of those overage players. I believe that more experience and playing at a higher level would help me compete for a spot on the 2012 team. If I am lucky enough to play soccer after school, playing with bigger and better players will make me become better as well.

Q: What is your favorite hangout on the Santa Clara campus and why?

JO: The outside patio near Benson. It's just relaxing there.

Q: How did you decide on becoming a Finance major?

JO: I've always been interested in business. I chose finance because I felt like it was the broadest major when dealing with money. I was debating between accounting and finance, and when I spoke with some teammates they agreed that finance would give me more options in the future.

Q: Outside of your major, what is the most interest/unique class that you have taken at Santa Clara?

JO: I took an ethnicity class as a junior. It dealt with race in America. We learned a lot about things we may had false impressions about that are going on in the world, and things that you didn't think were still going on are still going on.

Q: Was there a former, or current, player that you modeled your game after growing up?

JO: Patrick Vieira, a French defensive midfielder, and Kanu, a forward for the Nigerian national team. They are both big, strong players and they are skillful.

Q: At 6'4" and 210 lbs., what advantages does your size give you on the pitch?

JO: Soccer is becoming a more physical sport. That combination is a huge asset for me in winning tackles and holding the ball.

Q: What team in the WCC plays you guys the toughest and why?

JO: They all play us really tough. Every year we have the target on our back. So, no game is a walk over game for us. The conference is a much tougher conference than people give us credit for.

Q: Being from Pennsylvania, how did you decide to come west to Santa Clara?

JO: I just always wanted to go to college in California. Both my parents went to school in Northern California. My mom went to San Jose State and my Dad went to UCSF for graduate school. Santa Clara is known to have a good business school and also a great soccer program. I took a visit to Santa Clara and I really liked the school.