[MLS RISING STAR PROFILE]San Diego product Michael Farfan,who earned a starting role for the Philadelphia Union late last season, finished third in 2011 MLS Rookie of the Year voting and was named among the Top 10 right midfielders by Soccer America. Avery Raimondo spoke with the 23-year-old about on- and off-field experiences for the Soccer America's MLS Rising Stars series.
POSITION: Midfielder & Defender
YOUTH CLUB: La Jolla Nomads; U.S. U-17 Residency in Bradenton, Fla.
COLLEGE: North Carolina (after transferring from Cal State Fullerton)
INTERNATIONAL: 2005 U-17 World Cup.
ON THE UNION'S YOUTH: It's great. It's nice to be with a young, still-learning group that's ready to go out there 100 percent.
HIS OFFSEASON TRAINING STINT AT SUNDERLAND: It was a good experience. I got to train mostly with the reserves and it was great to see how they prepare for matches.
PLAYING WITH HIS TWIN GABRIEL: It's great. There's nothing like having your family around you.
HIS BEST POSITION: Attacking midfield or really anywhere in the central midfield
STARTING OUT/EARLY SOCCER MEMORY: At a local park in La Vista, playing every Sunday with the Sunday league.
FIRST CLEATS: Probably Lottos.
CURRENT CLEATS: Nike CTRs.
FAVORITE TEAMS: AC Milan, Barcelona (of course), and Manchester City.
FAVORITE PLAYER: David Luiz (Chelsea/Brazil), Juan Mata ((Chelsea/Spain).
FAVORITE MOVIES: "Pay it Forward," "Crash."
FAVORITE ACTOR: Denzel Washington
FAVORITE ACTRESS: Not too sure
FAVORITE TV SHOWS: "Californication," "How I Met Your Mother."
LIVING SITUATION: Gabriel and I have a nice play together.
ON BEING CHOSEN FOR THE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR SHORTLIST:It's a huge accomplishment. It proves that hard work pays off. At the beginning of the season I didn't play too much, but by the end I was in the starting 11. So it just goes to show that hard work pays off.
COLLEGE: I was at Cal State Fullerton for two years and decided that I wanted to leave so that I could pursue another school and maybe get a little more exposure and possibly go professional afterward. I talked to UNC and they were great and I loved everything about it. We went to two final fours and that always helps with exposure. Everything was top class and I have nothing to say bad about UNC. It was great.
MOST INFLUENTIAL COACH:Dad. He always taught us what we did right and what we did wrong.
HOBBIES: I like to go fishing a lot
MUSIC: Mellow music, Gyptian for example
READING:Autobiographies about successful athletes and successful people in general.
VACATION: St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
FAMOUS PEOPLE YOU'D INVITE TO DINNER: Michael Laudrup (my all-time favorite soccer player), Denzel Washington, and Diego Maradona