SANTA CRUZ, CA -- Matt Fondy (class of 2011) has continued the tradition of Slugs in professional soccer. The forward from Foster City is in his second year at Chivas USA, and has come off the substitute bench once in the Red-and-White's first two games of the MLS season.
Talk about how you began your career in the USL.
F-I left SC early to have a tryout in Pittsburgh. I had family there so I had a connection with the Riverhounds.
I went on trial, actually, a tryout for couple of days with all people. So I didn't actually get to train the team yet. I got signed after the 2nd day that got the ball rolling.
It wasn't I guess an amazing season for me but getting some professional experience was great. The year after that I signed with the LA Blues. Still adapting, getting used to professional speed of play. And then my third season as was with the (San Jose) Earthquakes for preseason, thought I was playing well, and then the last day they said they wouldn't be taking me, so that was tough.
I had to scramble a bit to find a team; I was on my own for a little bit, stayed in shape. Had a trial w the Sounders, then got back with the Blues, had 10 goals in ten games, got a couple of assists and felt I hit my stride.
Somewhere down the line Chivas saw me with the Blues. We talked, and I was there last few months last year and now preseason this year.
I have a few years left on my contract but I'm excited to make my mark in this league.
How surprised were you at the intensity of fouls called or not called at the pro level?
I guess as a forward get that wherever you are and if you are a little more elusive you get away with more; I've been getting that my whole life.
Physically I'm capable of holding my own, but it's different when there are more guys defending me who are just as strong. So I have less an advantage in that sense.
Is it strange being on the "little" team in a soccer town like L.A. compared to the Galaxy?
I think it makes the rivalry better. When we play them, we're excited to show we are not by any means less than them. We're in the same league, we have players who have played all over the world like they have, and we look forward to playing them.
Now with the new ownership, we should start to see more things Chivas.
What was the team mood last year with all the talk surrounding the possible sale of the club?
Our focus was getting prepared for the games. We let the office handle that stuff, and our focus on the field. The locker room is great. We weren't surprised, but we focus on the on the field stuff and not worry about it.
With all the controversy and lawsuits around Chivas, did you feel like an outsider on the club?
None of that reflected in the locker room. We have a lot of new guys and we all train hard.
It's a great locker room; they were very friendly and welcoming. I acclimated pretty quickly. Definitely it's fun. Coming into a new team with something to prove, maybe a chip on my shoulder, we just want to get better and I noticed that atmosphere right away. We have an amazing training staff, PR staff.
Was the speed of play or physicality different playing in the MLS Reserve League last year?
Not more physical. Players don't think anything less than themselves. I wouldn't say a surprise.
I'd say the jump from college to USL in terms of physicality a little bigger. You're still dealing with men, not just 18-22 like in college; you are dealing with men who've played a long time. The reserves –on the team not everyone plays or they are coming back from injury, or with all the games in the season not everyone gets to play. It's a chance to keep fitness and show you should be playing (on regular MLS game days) or a chance to get more minutes.
Where are you living in L.A.?
Redondo Beach. Yeah, not much to complain about.
So you are used to concentrating on play despite beautiful beaches nearby.
(Laughs) It's an atmosphere I'm used to. Go to practice, put your work in and then if you want to go to the beach or catch a movie it's up to you. But you always trying have to be professional off the field and get ready for the next thing.
How many of your old college teammates hit you up for tickets?
(Laugh) I talk to most of my team still. I miss all of them and I wish I was still playing with them.
Whenever they are around they're welcome to ask me for tickets, those are my boys.
Your Family pretty proud of your getting a degree and being a professional athlete?
One of my favorite pictures is my debut Pittsburgh. My whole family flew out and I scored my first professional goal.
My uncle had a pic of my dad with his hands in the air, tears in his eyes. And my mom with hands in her lap, not knowing what to do after. It was amazing. A Perfect moment captured.