Welcome back to 20 Questions! Our goal is to help you better get to know the players on this year's squad. For previous interviews in this series, we went behind the scenes with Gabriel Torres, Cheno, Harry Swartz and Alex Dixon. In this edition, we caught up with new defender Kevin Politz. Enjoy!
1. Let’s start by having you tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from?
KP: I was born in New Haven and lived in Cheshire for the first few years of my life but grew up in Monmouth close to the Jersey Shore. The TV show is not an accurate depiction of growing up, but it is pretty entertaining.
2. Have you Tried New Haven Pizza?
KP: I was able to go a couple weeks ago and went to Frank Pepe’s. It was really good. I’m biased growing up with New Jersey pizza – it’s a different style in New Haven. But I hope our fans don’t hold it against me, and I still need to try Sally’s and Modern.
3. Can you tell us a little bit about your family?
KP: I have an older brother who lives in Middletown – he’s an engineer at Pratt & Whitney. I also have a younger sister who is a gymnast at Penn State -- my brother and I got to see her senior night this year which was really special. As far as growing up, it really helped me that my older brother was stronger and bigger as I always tried to keep up and it pushed me to be better. We also played a year of high school soccer together which was really cool (I was a freshman and he was a senior).
4. Do you have any favorite home-cooked meals? What would your last meal be?
KP: For my birthday a few weeks ago, my mom cooked a thanksgiving dinner (turkey, stuffing etc.) which I love.
5. What’s your favorite moment as a player?
KP: Probably when we won the ACC tournament my junior year at Wake Forest. We had such a great team and a lot of the guys on that squad are currently playing professionally. It seemed like we had a curse on the program and always lost to Virginia. We didn’t play them that year so maybe that helped (haha) but we still won. [Former Hartford Athletic defender] Logan Gdula was on that team, and he’s a good friend of mine.
6. What have you learned from Coach Jaïdi thus far?
KP: You can tell the whole coaching staff has a wealth of knowledge. It’s especially evident in the little things, the details, and I’m learning every single day even while in quarantine. The style of play is really aggressive so we’ve been watching a lot of film – it’s been very helpful to really break down things like when’s the right time to be tight and other times when you need to lay off and give space to not get beaten behind.
7. If you could have one superpower what would it be?
KP: I would love the ability to fly – I could travel and see other parts of the world while saving money on airfare haha. I just love to travel and have been lucky to be able to see a lot of different places. I had a trip to the Philippines planned for the offseason but we’ll see how that plays out. Overall I’m trying to get to each continent.
8. If you weren't a soccer player what would you be?
KP: My major in college was mathematical business, and I minored in computer science so I would probably be doing something that involves working with big data. Maybe a data scientist.
9. Messi or Ronaldo?
KP: Messi. He sees the game differently. His assists are incredible even though he’s always touted as goal-scorer. I love watching him on the ball, creating space and looking for pockets. He does all the little things right.
10. Who was your favorite player as a kid?
KP: I would have to say John Terry and Carlos Puyol. Their styles of play are somewhat similar in that they’re hard-nosed and throw their bodies on the line. They do anything to keep the ball out of the goal. I really admire their work rate and tenacity.
11. So there was a quiz the coaching staff put together to test how well everyone knew each other. What was your fun fact?
KP: The question about me asked what current player was born in New Haven -- naturally everyone thought it was Nicky but actually it was me. Only me and Danny Barrera got it right.
12. What's one piece of advice you'd give to younger players?
KP: Just keep believing in yourself because you go through a lot of ups and downs -- you might not make a team or you might get cut but no matter what you have to believe in yourself and your ability.
13. Who’s your favorite professional soccer team?
KP: Bayern Munich – I really liked their players and playing style growing up. Ribery, Robben, Lewandowski, Boateng, Hummels,Philipp Lahm -- just wow. Lahm was also one of my favorite players growing up – he was so consistent and such a great leader.
14. What about your favorite sports team overall?
KP: I was born into a hockey family, and we are really big Devils fans. They are the only major team that truly reps New Jersey. I try to go to a few games every year. My current favorite player on the roster is Kyle Palmieri – he’s a consistent scorer and sniper.
15. What's your favorite TV show? Have you watched Tiger King?
KP: I really like Breaking Bad and Entourage. I’m gonna start watching Tiger King tonight just because everyone is talking about it.
16. What's your favorite book?
KP: I like to read – I usually read non-fiction because I like learning about new things. One book that I really liked is called ‘Why we Sleep’ by Matthew Walker. It really opened my eyes to the importance of sleep, and I’ve tried to implement things like keeping my room cool, blocking out light etc. to help me sleep better.
17. What are your favorite movies?
KP: Dark Knight, Shawshank Redemption, The Prestige, and Step Brothers.
18. Do you play video games?
KP: I’m playing a lot of Borderlands now mixed in with Call of Duty and Fortnite.
19. So we noticed you play the piano… is this something you learned as a kid?
KP: It’s actually something I’ve picked up more recently – I needed an elective in college so I took an intro to music course and it taught me a lot about music theory. In the past few years I’ve really gotten into playing piano as a hobby and have used my free time to teach myself with YouTube videos.
20. What's your favorite quote?
KP: One thing that stuck with me was something my strength coach at Greenville Triumph SC said to me last year: “How you do one thing is how you do everything.” Sometimes you want to do one thing really well and don’t focus or work hard enough in another area. You can’t pick and choose when you want to work hard, or when you want to be a leader – if you're a hard worker or a leader or whatever it may be you have to do every single thing with that mentality and that approach.