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SOCCER AMERICA INTERVIEW: St. John's Neal Kitson
by Bryan Alvarez, November 25th, 2008 8AM
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Neal Kitson won a national championship as a freshman at NCAA Division II Dowling in 2004 and hopes to finish his career with a second championship, this time with Division I St. John's. Kitson, whose 0.34 goals-against average is the lowest in the country, has been sensational in his first year as a full-time starter with the No. 3 seed Red Storm, who open play in the NCAA Tournament against Boston University.

Neal Kitson
College: St. John's
Class: Redshirt Senior
Position: Goalkeeper
Hometown: Little Neck, N.Y.
High School: Cardozo
Youth Club: New York Pancyprian
Major: Sports Management

Why your team will win the College Cup?
We work harder than any other program. Our coaching staff works hard. They prepare us and get the best out of us. Also, being the number three seed, we're in a good spot. We're 9-0 at home this year. We have a belief that we can win the College Cup.

Biggest area of improvement needed to win College Cup?
We need to adapt to the style that the other team brings. We need to adapt to the tempo. Every team is different. We need to adjust ourselves and attack their weaknesses.

Greatest asset as a player?
I'm not named as a captain but I demand the best out of our players. I'm really competitive. I make sure that our team succeeds.

Biggest weakness as a player?
For three years I've been working on being more aggressive off my line. I've been working everyday with Assistant Coach, Marc Reeves.

Best advice you received when you entered college?
Keep your head up. You can't always have highs. There will be lows. What determines whether you're successful or not is how you deal with the lows. You have to keep working hard and things will go your way.

Advice you gave your freshmen about Coach Masur?
It's no secret that our coaching staff is hungry and determined to win. A freshman might not be used to that. I tell them to keep your head up and take what the coaches tell you in a positive way. Keep working hard.

Pregame ritual?
Since I was 14, I would kiss my hand and touch each post. I also, close my eyes during the national anthem and visualize what I need to do.

Postgame ritual?
I try to review what went on in the game. I watch game video later.

Favorite hangout when you're back home?
On the couch, in front of the TV.

Favorite hangout on campus or in town?
I'm close with the team. We meet throughout the day when we're not in classes. I hang out in the cafeteria with 12 to 15 of us. We like to hang out and do things together.

Fondest memories-playing high school or youth soccer?
In high school, in New York, the biggest award is the PASL Heisman Wingate Award. When I entered high school, I told my Dad that I was going to win that award for him. In 2003, I won it. It was a special moment.

How do you like your soccer-watching on TV or playing video games?
I like playing FIFA and Winning Eleven on the PS3. I get competitive. But, sometimes it's nice to sit back and watch a game. But when you play a video game, you're in control. It's hard to say.

MLS or abroad-where do you want to play?
My family is from England. It's a dream and a goal of mine to go back there and play. I'll go wherever I get the opportunity, but my end goal is England.

18 or 21-what should the drinking age be?
18.



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