Dylan Mencia drives two and a half hours each way from his home in Pennsylvania to practice with the New York Red Bulls academy team. The high school junior capped his his 2007-08 season with the Red Bulls by scoring in their 3-1 win over Inter Milan's Serie A U-17 championship team.
Birthdate: Sept. 6, 1991
Hometown: Honesdale, Pa.
Youth Club: U-18 New York Red
Bulls Academy team. I actually joined the Red Bulls, so I could play up
a year. It's really helped develop my game and I'll be doing the same
this season. I previously played for FC Delco.
High School: Scranton
Position: I can play as a
center midfielder, out wide, or as a striker. I like to play in the
middle of the field, just behind the forwards.
College Plans: I'm going to be
a junior next year, so I haven't really launched into the whole college
process yet. I do know that I'd like to play in the ACC somewhere in
the south, so I can stay warm.
International Experience: I
played for the U-15 national team. There's nothing like playing for
your national team.
First soccer memory: I
remember playing soccer at the local YMCA. My friends and I would mess
Strengths: I'm a creative
player and I like to find gaps on the field. I'm also not afraid to go
at defenders, to take them on. I like to think of myself as an
Weaknesses: I can always work
on my fitness. Defense is another thing I need to concentrate on to
become a well-rounded player.
Highlight: Playing for the
national team was really special. It's something I'll always strive for.
Lowlight: It was tough when I
was getting started at the Red Bulls. New teammates, new club - but I
eventually settled into the team.
Who do you play like? Kaka. I
think he is an incredibly smart player.
Other Sports: I used to play
Academic Interests: I enjoy
math and English. In college, I'd like to major in business or
Volunteering: I work a lot at
youth soccer camps. It's great to work with the little kids.
Driving: I have a two and a
half hour drive each way to my practices with the Red Bulls. On top of
that, my high school is 45 minutes from my home. A lot of my time is
spent in the car. Needless to say, my parents are pretty happy that I
just got my license. It's tough to find a balance and get my schoolwork
done, but I think it's really helped me with my time management.
Role Models: My dad. He is a
hard worker and I really look up to him. He pushes me to be my best.
Memorable advice: My parents
have always told me that nothing is too hard to achieve. You can always
reach your goals if you work hard enough.
Favorite teams: Barcelona
Favorite players: Diego and
Favorite Show: Anything on Gol
TV or Fox Soccer Channel
Favorite Movie: Gladiator
Favorite Reading: 1984
Favorite Music: I'm kind of all
over the place. I like Lil Wayne, Tom Petty, and Bob Marley.
Craziest moment on the soccer field: Our
Red Bulls team played against Juventus' youth team and I went into a
tackle and blacked out. My teammates said I was wandering around the
field mumbling incoherently. It took me a while to figure out where I
was and what I was doing.