Samantha Johnson Interview

Samantha Johnson Interview

Samantha Johnson is an American born defender and newly signed Concave athlete. Currently playing for the Chicago Red Stars, after just getting back from playing over in Australia, Samantha is now back in the States, kicking on and trendsetting as she laces up in the limited edition Mr Cenz VOLT+ football boots...

Firstly, what got you into football?

Well, I’ve been playing since I was 5 years old and if you ask my Mother, she said it’s the first ball I picked up out of all the sports balls in the house. So that was that!

Where did you grow up and did any of your family members play sport?

I grew up in California, Los Angeles County. My family, they played sports. My Dad was a football (American) player, my Mum was a basketball player but I was the only soccer player in the family. My younger sister played but only because I played, not really because she was into it – cause I was like really into it, you know!

So what did they think when you picked up soccer and started progressing with it?

They didn’t really understand that I was actually good at it until I was like 14. Cos I was playing for the national youth team and they were like “oh it's just another soccer camp” they didn’t understand the significance of it.

At what point did you think soccer could be a career for you?

Probably when I was about 13 or 14, after my freshman year in high school... I played for a local club, in the area where I’m from. This guy saw me play in a tournament and was like “she needs to play for a better club, she wants to go to college” and all that stuff. My Mum was like “who would she play for?” Then I went on a trial with this really good club, that was like 2 hours from my house. I made the team and then I started my entire career pretty much.

What was it like growing up in America being a female soccer player?

Oh it's very popular! Almost all girls play sports and there's like a tonne of girls that play soccer so it's quite a normal thing to do.

So were there any other sports that you were interested in?

When I was like really young, up until I was about 11, I was a gymnast but then I decided soccer was more fun. I had more fun playing with my friends, whereas gymnastics is really serious so I was like “I don’t really want to do that.”

What would you say is your strongest attribute in your game?

Well, right now I play in defence but when I was growing up I was a forward. My transition from offence to defence wasn’t easy but it was probably easier than someone else would find it, because it was naturally progressive. I have things that you can’t really teach a player like I don’t mind getting hit by the ball or throwing myself about. Not many people are like that but I don’t mind it. So they were like, you’d be a good defender and that’s where I found myself.

Do you see yourself sticking with that position?

I think centre back would be a good position for me to stick with and try and be the best at.

What were your first impressions when you tried out Concave boots?

Well, I was pretty new to the technology so I had a high standard. I heard the technology increases the area of striking the ball, so I was like “yeah yeah, whatever” so then I was shown all this stuff and told to just give it a go and try it out at practice. I was like ok, so, you know when people say that boots do all these extra things and they do but they don’t – you know what I mean? So I put the boots on and was trying them out, taking every possible chance in practice to actually shoot the ball – which is the most fun. We were playing 5 a side and I was striking the ball. I was so surprised as to how well the shoe actually worked and works. It was definitely increasing the margin for error in my technique, if there was any on those particular shots. It gave a better contact, I was like, yeah he’s telling the truth and I laughed and went “okay, maybe they do have something going here!” [Laughs…]

What did the rest of your teammates say?

They were like “what is on your foot?” And I was like “it's called Concave” and they were like, “what the hell is Concave?” I was like, “I don’t know okay but I really like the shoe and they’re comfortable!” Now I’ve been wearing them since October and everyone's like “I really like your boots, what are those? Can you get me a pair?” I’m like, “no, I can’t get you a pair cause you were ripping them 3 months ago!” [Laughs…]

Would you say you’re a trendsetter and if so, why?

Yeah, definitely! More of like a personality... I’m naturally aggressive to the point where I don’t really mind if people don’t like me or do like me or whatever. I take it for what it is. Usually people like that but then I can see why I’ve rubbed people the wrong way before with my don’t care attitude.

Do you have any interests or hobbies outside of soccer?

I wouldn’t call it a real hobby, more an extension of my career – I really like to do fitness modelling! Literally not eating carbs and going on stage and flexing my muscles. It's so weird but I really love the aesthetics of being fit and living that lifestyle.

When did you start getting into that?

I did that after graduating from college cos I didn’t play soccer for a year so I did fitness modelling. Then in 2014, I tried out and accidently made the team and here I am. Modelling has not been in the forefront, soccer is my priority but I wish I could do both, however at the moment I can’t put my all into both. I just play soccer for now and hopefully modelling will present itself later but if not you could call it a hobby, always in the gym and eating something healthy.

What kind of music are you into?

My favourite genre is 90s R&B and then my second is raggaeton. I’m literally stuck in the 90s and early 2000s with music.

Objectives for the season?

Try and be the best CB in the league and our team objectives are to make the playoffs and play in the finals.

Do you stay behind for extra sessions and work on technique?

No, absolutely not. I do that through preseason. I’m so calculated as to how much energy you need to max yourself out in a game – so I do nothing extra at all during season. Off-season is my time where I can flex myself and do extra. In season it's about executing – you’re no longer preparing for anything – just staying sharp. I trained 3 times a day in the off season so now I don’t have to stay behind after.

Where do you see the women’s game in the future?

It's never gonna be equal to the men if that’s what you’re asking – that’s not possible. It will grow in popularity but it's not like we’re ever gonna be equal. The marketing does well and the popularity will continue to grow. The national team is really successful and their success helps our success. That’s just inevitable! It all trickles down... Given we’re at least top 3 in the world, that’s always going to be good for the league.

What advice would you give to any young aspiring girls that are looking to get into soccer?

I would say that the most important thing for soccer is to always be open minded and coachable because that’s how you progress in the game. A lot of players get good at a really young age and just think that’s it. By the time I was 17, I went to a world cup and was meant to go to college for free. It seemed like I had accomplished a lot but I was still able to be coached and not get ahead of myself. Just be humble and willing to learn to get better everyday.

Writen by Concave @ 29/05/2017 07:47

  • Samantha Johnson
  • Interview
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