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RISING STAR: Red Bulls' Dylan Mencia
by Joe Addison, September 11th, 2008 9:30AM

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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 Preparatory School
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 around indoors.
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 attacking player.
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 baseball
Academic Interests: I enjoy math and English. In college, I'd like to major in business or economics.
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 Ronaldinho
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.


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