1 How did you get into playing soccer and did you have to choose soccer over any other sports at school? Do your family follow your career closely?
ST - I started when I was about five back in New Jersey. My parents are British so they introduced me to soccer. Football was never really an interest in our family plus I never really liked it. When I was in middle school I played a lot of basketball, but when I moved to California I had to choose between that and soccer because the seasons conflicted. I also ran track during high school and I was more well known for running than I was playing soccer, but for me it was always about playing soccer. My parents are an integral part of my career and know every detail about it. My mom is my biggest fan and my dad is my greatest coach.
2 What was your time at UCLA like? Did you always know you would turn pro after college or did you have any other career paths in mind?
ST - I loved every minute at UCLA, the good times and the bad. I'm very thankful that I was able to leave my senior year with a national championship. In regards to turning pro, I honestly didn't think that I would. I was in Portugal with the U-23's when I found out and it was the greatest night of my life when I saw my name drafted. Eventually though, when I'm finished with soccer, I plan to do some form of teaching because I love being around children.
3 What was your time at the Galaxy like? How frustrating was it sitting on the bench with an injury? How did the initial loan to the Timbers come about? What were your initial feelings about playing a lower league?
ST - It was an honor and a privilege to be associated with the Galaxy even though I never really played. Being on the bench for two years is extremely frustrating, but I learned a lot while I was there. The loan came about because I wanted to play. The general manager, coach, and I all knew that in order for me to compete at that level, I needed to play consistently, hence the loan to Portland. My feelings for Portland were the same as every team I have ever played with, no matter what the level. I play to win and expect to win everyday.
4 Following on a bit from the previous question, what are the differences playing in MLS and the A League/USL First Div.
ST - The main difference would be the consistency of play. Players make less mistakes in MLS and the teams are generally more structured and disciplined. Plus MLS teams have a higher budget than the 1st div.
5 What are your impressions of the Timbers setup on and off the field?
ST - The Timbers as a whole are a good organization. I really couldn't say anything bad about it, besides the season being too short...but they can't control that.
6 Did you have any other offers over the winter? If so what factors made you choose signing for the Timbers?
ST - What it basically came to was that Portland presented me with a good situation that made it easy for me to push aside my other options. What I need most is playing time and I felt that the Timbers could provide that.
7 Turning to your recent call up for USL-based USA squad? How did that come about? Was it a difficult decision to accept the offer and what was your experience of the training camp with Bruce Arena? Did you have any worries about taking the place of striking players, players who you probably know from the MLS?
ST - I was called into camp because I was out of contract with LA. The MLS union was standing with the national players hence the call up of all the USL players. I had spoken with many of my friends in MLS who were asked ahead of me and they all said no, but they were also still under contract and part of the MLS union. I had to weigh what was best for my career as a player against upsetting the national team players. If it was a situation where I was taking someone's job permanently and undermining their well being then I wouldn't have gone into camp, but all these players have other clubs to play for so that wasn't the case. The camp in general was good and I felt that I played well during my time there. The situation was resolved in a week so overall I'm happy with my choice.
8 You've signed a 2-year deal with the Timbers, but what are your longer term plans inside or outside soccer?
ST - I still plan to play abroad at some point in my life. But at the same time, if something feels right than I'll stay with it.
9 What do you like doing while not playing? Any favorite places to hang out in Portland?
ST - I actually play a lot of video games and read in my spare time. My friends call me a hermit because I spend so much time in my room, which is funny because I love being around and watching other people interact. The two spots I went to the most were McFaddens and the Bullpen. I think this year I'm going to do some exploring and learn more about Portland.
10 What are your impressions of Coach Howe compared to other coaches you've played for?
ST - Bobby is a coach who's been around the world and back in regards to soccer and his coaching style is definitely one that lets the players figure out problems on the field. Personally he gives me the freedom to do what I like on and off the field and it's a relationship that I would never abuse. I consider him more like a friend than just a coach.
11 Have you made any friendships with any of the other Timbers players in particular?
ST - Well I played club soccer with Josh when I was in high school and our mothers are close friends so I was close with the Saunders before I came. The rest of the team I considered friends as soon as we met and are all good people. I was surprised though that I became so close with Gavin (Wilkinson). I learned a great deal from him and he's actually one of the funniest guys on the team. If the fans could only hear some of the things he says, during games, they'd be dying in their seats.
12 What did you think of the teams performance overall last year? How do you think the team will do this year?
ST - I knew the team was doing well before I came last year so I expected to contribute to its success. Once I arrived, I truly believed that we would win the championship and losing to Seattle left the worst taste in my mouth. This year I have the same expectations to win a championship for Portland and its fans.