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Rising Star: Robbie Findley
by Bryan Alvarez, July 22nd, 2008 7AM
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[MLS] Robbie Findley scored eight goals last year, leading all rookies, while splitting time with Real Salt Lake and Los Angeles. This year, Findley is focused on helping Real Salt Lake earn its first-ever MLS playoff spot. He saw action with the U.S. U-23 national team in Olympic qualifying and is an alternate for the Olympic team.


AGE: 22

HOMETOWN: Phoenix, Ariz.

YOUTH CLUB: Sereno Golden Eagles (5 years)

COLLEGE: Oregon State

INTERNATIONAL: U.S. national team (earned 1st cap against Switzerland on October 17, 2007); U-23 national team

STARTING OUT: I have dual citizenship, here and Trinidad. My whole family played soccer. My Dad played in leagues and I'd go to his games. A couple of my cousins played, too.

EARLY SOCCER MEMORY: When I was 15 or 16, we went to the Nationals two years in a row. The first year, we didn't do that well. But, the second year, we placed second.

FIRST CLEATS: Adidas Copas.

CURRENT CLEATS: Adidas +F50 Tunits and Predators.

OTHER SPORTS: I played basketball as a kid. It was nothing competitive. I was on a coed team. I also like playing pickup games with my friends.

FAVORITE TEAMS: The Atlanta Hawks. My cousin plays for them (Mike Bibby).

FAVORITE PLAYER: Outside of soccer, it's Michael Jordan. He's a real professional athlete. I like the way he presents himself. Also, he worked really hard and did the extra things to get better.

FAVORITE MOVIES: The Great Debaters, Dumb and Dumber, Do the Right Thing.

FAVORITE ACTOR: Denzel Washington.

FAVORITE ACTRESS: Charlize Theron.


LIVING SITUATION: Nate Sturgis and I have an apartment downtown. It's not bad.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: On our team, Tony Beltran has done well. I haven't seen enough of the other rookies to pick one person.

MLS EXPERIENCE: It's been going well. In my first year, I was drafted by LA and then traded. It's crazy how they can just trade you and you have to pick up and move everything. My family helped me through it. I met some great vets in the league, Landon Donovan in LA and Eddie Pope when I got here. They have lots of good advice. This year, I feel like I'm making smarter decisions and am more consistent. Those are a couple things you need to do to go further in the league.

COLLEGE EXPERIENCE: Oregon was different. I came from Arizona where it was hot and sunny all the time. In Oregon, I had practice at 7 am. When I got up every morning, it seemed like it was always raining. It's depressing when it's gray all the time. I just tried to focus on school and soccer. As time went on, I got used to it.

MOST INFLUENTIAL COACH: There were so many. My dad (Rawle Findley) coached me when I was little. He still coaches me now on the phone. Leroy DeLeon was another coach. He was from Trinidad. Harry Demos was an important coach at Sereno. Jesse Cormier recruited me to Oregon State. He was an assistant coach during my freshman year. He coaches at the University of Vermont now. Dana Taylor helped me a lot at Oregon State, too.

MEMORABLE COACHING ADVICE (from youth coach): I'm a churchgoer. Harry Demos was big with the church. He told me to keep the faith and keep focused. He said you have to do what you have to do to make yourself better. A lot of coaches told me the same things in different ways.

HOBBIES: Video games. I like playing Winning Eleven, FIFA and sometimes NBA Live.

MUSIC: Rap & R&B. On the rap side, I like Lil' Wayne and Tupac. On the R&B side, I like Boyz II Men and Jagged Edge.

VACATION: I haven't had a vacation in a while, honestly. Maybe after the season, I'll to Hawaii or the Caribbean, or something.

FAMOUS PEOPLE YOU'D INVITE TO DINNER: Michael Jordan, Barack Obama, Beyonce and Thierry Henry.



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