[MLS RISING STAR PROFILE] The third overall pick of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, 20-year-old Perry Kitchen has already made 46 MLS appearances at various positions for D.C. United, which leads the Eastern Conference. Kitchen, a veteran of U.S. youth national teams and a national champion in his lone collegiate season with Akron, answered questions about his professional career, reminisced about youth and college soccer, and filled us in on his life away from the soccer field.
POSITION: Central Midfield/Defense
YOUTH CLUB: Chicago Magic
COLLEGE: Akron University
INTERNATIONAL: U.S. U-17, U-20, U-23
HIS PREFERRED POSITION: I'm a defensive midfielder. I can defend also, whether it's right back or center back or whatever. But I definitely think defensive midfield is my best position.
D.C. UNITED'S CHANGING FORTUNE: I think mostly we just have a great group of guys who've bought into the system and are working for each other.
COACH BEN OLSEN: He is pretty intense, definitely expects a lot out of the guys. He's a very smart coach and knows how to put us in places to succeed and I think he's doing very well.
YOUTH SOCCER MEMORIES: I started when I was 4. I used to play 3 vs. 3 with some local guys from Indy. ... We'd always go to Disney, the national tournament, in Orlando. And you know those were always pretty fun.
FIRST CLEATS: I had some Pumas. I don't think they were Puma Kings. I think they were just Pumas. I can't think of the actual style.
CURRENT CLEATS: Predators.
FAVORITE TEAMS: I don't really have one, but I will say I have kinda jumped on the Barcelona bandwagon. I mean watching them is very entertaining and they play soccer the best way, I think. I've followed them pretty closely since they've been successful.
FAVORITE PLAYER: Nemanja Vidic for Man U. He's hurt at the moment, but just his intensity is fun to watch.
FAVORITE MOVIES: "Man on Fire."
FAVORITE ACTOR: Denzel Washington.
FAVORITE TV SHOWS: I've actually gotten into the series "Dexter," which has been pretty good. Other than that, I don't really watch TV shows. Just sports.
LIVING SITUATION: I'm on my own.
COLLEGE SOCCER: It was pretty good. We [Akron] came out with the national championship so you can never complain about that. The school was great - the staff, the teachers, everything about it was top of the line. It was only a year, but it was one of the best I've had.
HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER: It was good; it's always good to have a normal lifestyle. I can't say that the soccer was the best, but it was definitely fun to play with my brother, who went to the same high school.
MOST INFLUENTIAL COACH: I've had a bunch of great coaches, but one that has stuck out is Caleb Porter. He's a very intelligent coach and knows how the game is played and tries to mimic our style after Barcelona. At Akron, I think he did a pretty great job doing that. It's good as a player to play for an intense coach like him. For now, he's my best coach, but I've also had other great coaches.
MEMORABLE COACHING ADVICE (from youth coach): I can't think of one specific phrase, but something I return to is to always have fun. That's why you play. You have to be serious about it, but at the same time you can't be too serious where a bad performance is ruining your day. Enjoy it and have fun because one day it's going to come to an end.
HOBBIES: I don't really (have any), honestly. I'm always about soccer and when I'm not playing I'm usually just relaxing. I guess you'd say school work keeps you busy too; because I didn't graduate, I'm still working on that. Video games, but nothing too crazy.
MUSIC: Everything. Usually mainstream stuff, I don't listen to anything too underground or anything like that. Country, hip hop, rock.
READING: Yeah, there's book I really like. It's called "Quiet Strength" by Tony Dungy, the former Indianapolis Colts head coach.
FAVORITE VACATION SPOT:I haven't been to too many, but anywhere by the water is good for me.
FAMOUS PEOPLE YOU'D INVITE TO DINNER: That's a good one. Probably Vidic, Denzel Washington and Jesus.