[MLS/OLYMPICS]Last year, midfielder Dax McCarty, 21, played for the USA at the U-20 World Cup. Now the third-year MLS player, who has made 11 appearances in 2008 for FC Dallas, is headed to the Olympic Games. Get to know McCarty in this profile by Soccer America's Bryan Alvarez that covers McCarty's on- and off-field experiences ...
HOMETOWN: Orlando, Fla.
YOUTH CLUB: Central Florida United Phoenix
COLLEGE: University of North Carolina (3 semesters, 1.5 years).
INTERNATIONAL: U-15, U-17, U-18, U-20, U-23
STARTING OUT:I was your standard athletic kid. I played soccer, basketball and tennis. As I got older, I dropped out of the other sports. I realized that I wasn't going to be 6'10" or 200 pounds. So, I stuck with my favorite sport.
EARLY SOCCER MEMORY: My parents told me this one. When I was young, I was faster than the other kids. One time, I was dribbling. I was going so fast I dribbled past the goal. People were yelling at me to stop but I kept going. My parents had to stop me.
FIRST CLEATS: Puma Kings.
CURRENT CLEATS: Adidas Predators.
OTHER SPORTS:I played basketball and tennis. I was on YMCA youth teams for basketball until high school. We were members of a racquet club. So, that's where I picked up tennis. I remember playing in a father-son tournament. I played tennis with Nathan Sturgis when we were at U-17 residency camp.
FAVORITE TEAMS: Manchester United, Orlando Magic, Florida Gators (football)
FAVORITE PLAYER: Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard, Andres Iniesta.
FAVORITE MOVIES: "American Beauty," "Braveheart," "Old School."
FAVORITE ACTOR: Kevin Spacey.
FAVORITE ACTRESS:Angelina Jolie.
FAVORITE TV SHOW:"Entourage."
LIVING SITUATION: I'm at the same place I've been since I've been in the league. I live in a town house with a friend from college. Last year, I lived with Blake Wagner and Andrew Daniels.
MLS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: I think Sean Franklin [Los Amgeles Galaxy] is the obvious choice.
MLS EXPERIENCE: It's been a mixed bag. My first year was frustrating. I wasn't playing much. It was a learning experience. My second year was good for the team and myself. That was a high. This year's been good so far. With the U-23s, we qualified for the Olympics. At the moment, I'm recovering from sports hernia surgery.
COLLEGE EXPERIENCE: It was the best one and a half years of my life. It was awesome. The UNC experience is fantastic. Franklin Street is a great place to go. Playing soccer in the ACC was great, too. It's the strongest conference in college soccer. It gave me valuable experience and helped prepare me for this level.
MOST INFLUENTIAL COACH:All my coaches have been influential. Back in my childhood, Ray Fandidge, my CFU club coach was a big influence.
MEMORABLE COACHING ADVICE (from youth coach): Ray Fandidge always told me, "You got to defend". A midfielder who doesn't defend is not helping his team. He taught me the importance of being two-way player.
HOBBIES: Ping pong, movies, being around friends.
MUSIC: I'm the easiest music guy. I like rap, rock, techno, and a little bit of country. I'm into it all.
READING: I'm more of a magazine and newspaper kind of guy.
VACATION: Being from Orlando, I like going to this place called New Smyrna Beach. It's a beach where all my old friends used to hang out. It's a great place for spring break. The other place I like for vacation is Vale, Colorado. I went skiing there.
FAMOUS PEOPLE YOU'D INVITE TO DINNER: Michael Jordan, Pele, Paul Scholes and Will Ferrell.