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Chris Wingert answers Fans' questions in RSL's Friday Fan Forum

20 May 5:22 pm

Chris Wingert answers Fans' questions in RSL's Friday Fan Forum

By Jane Sexton

RSL defender Chris Wingert was last week's guest at Real Salt Lake's Friday Fan Forum. The New York native dishes on his childhood, how he got to RSL and trying to beat fellow defender Tony Beltran in a beep test. Get to know the Claret-and-Cobalt veteran a bit better by checking out his answers below.

And make sure to make it to this Friday's Fan Forum with RSL midfielder Cole Grossman. Friday Fan Forums take place after practice at Rio Tinto Stadium. Practice will start at 11:00 a.m. and normally lasts an hour, but the end time may vary.

Chris Wingert Fan Forum

  1. I used to practice a lot with my dad at home. He’d take me out the majority of days that I didn’t have team practice or a game when I was young. He was always asking me to go out and train and I can remember up until about 9th grade sometimes I would resist a little bit and it was always ­us trying to find a balance between pushing without pushing too much. He was always supportive. Once I got into 10th grade I was really focused on trying to make the youth national team and I started asking my dad to go out and train. To this day I don’t think he’s ever said no to me.

  2. I get nervous before every game. There are obviously different levels of anxiety and being nervous. But I think a little bit of that is good and usually once you are in the game you are able to focus and when you’re in a sport like soccer, you’re able to run around a little bit and some of the nerves go away. My college coach used to tell me that if you can just win a ball right away that it will get rid of your nerves a little bit, and I thought that has always helped – whether it’s to win a header or tackle or just get on the ball right away. In general it’s ok to do things with fear, it’s ok to have fear in anything in life. You can still go out and try to accomplish your goal.

  3. I’m from Long Island, NY. It’s far, far away from here; greatest place on earth. I’m a little biased though.

  4. I don’t know if I hate facing anybody, but in terms of who gives us problems and is just a real concern for us, I would say Robbie Keane. I think he’s probably the best around and just a really sharp guy in the box and we have to be wary of where he is.

  5. My favorite food is New York pizza. I try not to eat too much pizza when I’m out here or anywhere really, but when I’m at home I can’t help it. A lot of carbs: pizza, bagels, egg sandwiches; that’s my go to when I’m at home with my family in New York.

  6. We’ve had a lot of good games over the years. Certainly the Championship in 2009 was a great one. One of my favorites for sure was beating LA Galaxy here because it was at home – that was one of the highlights of my career.

  7. We spend a limited amount of time worrying about our opponents. We’ll have a meeting in a little while and scout the team a little bit. We’ll try and talk about what formation they could possibly play and what their lineup might look like and go over some tendencies. As a defender, I definitely try and study a few things about the right-midfielder or right-winger that I might match up against the following day. But the majority of the time during the week is spent working on ourselves and worrying about us.

  8. Tony [Beltran] covers a lot more ground than me, he makes me look bad. I’ll tell you a funny story. Tony went to St. Johns too, just for a year and I had already left. We would always have to go and run three miles in 18 minutes, it was our big test in the beginning of the year. It was incredibly hard to do and even if I was in the middle of the season here I don’t think too many guys could make that run. I was home a couple weeks ago and our college coach said, “Yeah, Beltran had the audacity to come in here and run a three-mile, 17 minutes.” That is unheard of because it’s like three 5:20 miles in row. We always do the beep test and a couple years ago I worked my butt off and I was living in Park City at altitude and I was going to try and win the beep test. Tony was coming off surgery and so he hadn’t really worked out at all. The two of us were left at the end and I was working so hard but he just waited till I finished and then he ran one more so he could beat me.

  9. I’ve been so blessed and fortunate for things to turn out the way they did. I got released from Colorado [Rapids] and was heading to LA to sign with them. Their right-back Chris Albright had torn his ACL and they needed somebody, so I was headed out there. Robin Fraser, who’s our old assistant coach, called me and we were really close. Robin asked me, “Would you rather come to RSL?” I heard a lot of good things about Jason Kreis so I obviously ended up coming here. Even though they were record-wise the worst team in the league at the time and people were calling me crazy for not going out to LA (Beckham was arriving the same day); I had a feeling that Jason, Robin, and all the staff were going to turn things around. I wanted to be somewhere for a long time and Jason told me that that place was here. He told me, “Come here and we’ll be successful and we’ll turn things around.” He did. Fortunately for me, my best friend, our captain, and one of our best players in the history of this franchise got traded here three days later which was complete coincidence.

  10. When we win I have a lot of fun at games. Nah, I’m always having fun. I love the game. Of course it’s disappointing if we’re not getting the result we want, sometimes that stuff happens. I try not to let if affect me as much as it does. I wish it didn’t have such an effect on my mentality that next week but we appreciate when you guys come out. When we’re playing in front of 20,000 screaming fans that is a dream come true. I’m having a lot of fun doing what I’m doing and I’m going to try and do it as long as I can.

  11. I think Germany will win the World Cup. I don’t want them to win – obviously, I’d love the US to win and go as far as possible. I usually end up rooting for England and Holland a little bit, but if I had to put some money on it I’d bet on Germany.