I’ll link to the article when it comes out in Sports Northwest Magazine (sportsnwmag.com), but I have a ton of transcript left from Spencer’s interview, and I think it’s pretty interesting stuff about the life of a top young U.S. player growing up in an athletic academy atmosphere -- a whole different world. There’s a lot of material, so this is just the first batch – I’ll post one of two more later to break it up a little bit. Enjoy.
On the routine down at the academy… And so what we do is on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, we work out in the mornings from 7-8, which is called IMG Academy Athletic & Personal Development programs… International Performance Institution. And then after that we’ll come back, we’ll get changed, head off to practice probably like 8:30, 8:45ish. Then practice till 11:00, 11:30, depending on what they can get in. Practices are longer on Tuesdays and Thursdays, three and a half hours. Then we come back and shower, lunch, head off to school at noon and come back from school at 5:15 and then during the nights on (Wednesday) we had a bible study program that a lot of players went to. Tuesdays and Thursdays if you didn’t have a 3.5 (GPA) or above, you had to go to a study hall for a couple of hours … mental conditioning is on Mondays … And then Fridays, Friday nights we have off, and then on Saturdays we would have practice in the mornings, or we’d have an intersquad or a scrimmage against a local team or something from probably like 9 to 11, then Sundays we’d usually have off.
Is it tough at all, to give up all the friends back home? It sounds like a lot of structure. At first it was easy to do because I was just so wrapped up in what I’m going to do, and it starts to hit you a couple months in. … The biggest struggle for me going was just the lack of freedom, because you’re pretty much locked up in this. You can’t leave campus unless you get signed off by a parent or someone who’s 18 or older, and then you have to sign this paperwork and this paperwork … and then you have to sign back in when you get in, and they have to know where you’re going, and who you’re going to be with, and even in our dorm, you can’t sleep in a different room unless you go up to the front desk and you tell them you’re sleeping in a different room. And we have checkups like every two hours throughout the night, so you’re not like sneaking off campus. It’s kind of like a prison.
But it’s worth it? Oh yea, it’s all worth it.
Did you make friends pretty quickly? It took me a little bit, but I found a couple. You kind of like have to earn your way into kind of getting respect from the guys based on how you play on the field and just you really earn it with how you play and how hard you work. Guy start to respect you more. And I started earning friends when I kind of caught on to the system and started playing well because I was a little shocked at first, the speed of play.
Is it pretty competitive? Your spot on the team can change with any second. There’s four keepers down there, and everyone’s trying to be the number one guy, but even if you aren’t that, you want to be number two so you can be playing on the second team, and any injury you suffer at practice one day and anything you do off the field, school, grades can affect you on your depth chart. So it’s like constantly you have to be worried about your spot.
Where do you rank right now? I think I’m number two right now. I broke my wrist April 17 so I was out two months with that, which killed me (broke it taking PKs).