Third in our “The Matchelor” series is centerback Kevin Politz, who scored the game-winning goal in the Triumph’s first league home victory, back in April. A New Jersey native, we sat down to talk movies, music, and his journey to Greenville.
Pictures: Brittany Hildreth
How did you end up playing soccer?
“I played a little bit of everything when I was little: little league baseball, a lot of hockey, travel basketball, some lacrosse in middle school. I liked soccer the most though; I was better at it than the rest of the sports. Once I got to high school freshman year, I quit the other sports and just focused on soccer.”
What was your journey from there to playing this year in Greenville?
“I went to Wake Forest University, and played there for 4 years. I then signed my first professional contract with the New York Red Bulls as a homegrown player. Last year, I spent time with the New York Red Bulls 2, the USL affiliate; we made a decent run to the conference final, before getting eliminated by Louisville. I had a connection with John Harkes because I played with his son Ian at Wake, so when he found out he was going to be here, he contacted me to try to come. When the Red Bulls didn’t take my option at the end of the season, I was exploring my options, and this seemed like a great opportunity.”
You’re from New Jersey. Are you a Red Bulls fan?
“Yeah, I grew up in their academy for four years, and then I played for 3 years with their PDL team (now USL League 2), so I’m very familiar with their system.”
I noticed-I’m not sure if you know-but thanks to your time in their system, you’re one of two Triumph players on FIFA19. How does that feel?
“I didn’t know that! That’s awesome. I don’t play too much FIFA, because I’m not very good, but some people on the team are really into it. It’s a cool feeling, though, to be in a video game.”
Do you play other video games?
“Yeah, I play a little Fortnite with some friends. I like to keep in touch with a lot of people, friends from high school and Wake Forest, connecting that way.”
You’ve been in Greenville for a bit now; what are a few of your favorite spots so far?
“Yeah, I’ve been here since early February. I’ve been to the Pretty Place Chapel outlook, which was awesome; you could see forever. I went to Lake Keowee a week or two ago, which was fun. Did some swimming in the lake. I went to Soby’s with my parents and had the crab cakes; they were excellent. It’s southern cuisine, which I like. I really love the downtown, walking across the bridge and the waterfalls.”
What are some songs or music you’re into right now?
“I have different music for every occasion; before games, I like hype up music, rap or hip-hop. After games, I try to keep it to mellow music to try to calm down and relax. Nothing specific; hip-hop artists I like are Drake and Young Thug. On the other side, I like John Mayer and Ed Sheeran.”
Speaking of music, a little birdie (who may have been your roommate, Cameron Saul) told me you have some musical talents, and I’ve seen some Instagram videos of you on piano. When did that start?
“I just started taking lessons again last year. My dad plays guitar really well; he’s always played. It’s always something I’ve wanted to do, but with soccer and sports and school, it’s been tough. In college, I was able to take an Intro to Music Theory course. I needed an elective to fill in my schedule, so I was able to do that to get an understanding of how to read music. I left Wake Forest a semester early, but still had an online course to do. Once I finished that in late spring last year, I started taking lessons in New Jersey. I haven’t found or pursued lessons down here yet, but I’ve been playing on my own and enjoying it. I’m learning a lot.”
Do you have any game day rituals?
“I like to eat a good meal; I’ll change it up, but usually a carb-heavy meal to get ready for games. I like to drink coconut water before games. I usually do the same thing: rolling out, stretching, some meditation to get my mind right beforehand.”
Growing up, what skill did you have to work harder at than others?
“I’ve worked really hard on using my left foot, because I’m naturally right-footed. All through my youth career until now, I’ve been playing left centerback. Coaches have asked me to play on the left, so that’s something I’ve worked to improve and get better at consistently.”
Who’s your top level club to support?
“I like Bayern Munich. I have some German roots, and I like their playing style. I also got to see their arena once when I went to Austria and Germany. It was a cool experience.”
A related question: what team, if you could play for anyone, past or present, would you want to play for?
“If we can do past, I would probably want to play for Pep Guardiola and his Barcelona when they were at their height, maybe 2011-2012. They were playing beautiful soccer and doing really well. I think Pep is an awesome coach and I’d love to play for him.”
Who do you think has the best logo in the league (besides the Triumph)?
“I think Forward Madison. They’re very popular on social media with their pink; it’s something very unique, if you’re into that. It’s a breath of fresh air, that they went out on a limb like that. It came out really well.”
Who do you think is your best looking teammate?
“I think we have a good looking team. I’ll probably give a shout to my centerback partner, Evan Lee. He’s like a Thor-looking guy.”
What Disney character are you?
“I love Disney a lot; I want to see the new Aladdin that just came out. I’m really into Moana, especially the soundtrack. If I had to pick a character, I would go with Maui.”
If you like movies, what would you say is your favorite?
“My favorite all-time movie is probably The Shawshank Redemption. It’s an emotional rollercoaster. It has it all: sad moments, happy moments. I love the ending.”
The Women’s World Cup starts this week. Who do you think will win?
“I’m going for the US. All the way, for sure.”
Interview edited for clarity.
We at GVLSoccer would like to thank Kevin for making time for us! Who should be the next interview on “The Matchelor,” and do you have a specific question for them? Let us know by tweeting Brittany or commenting on Facebook!