Photo courtesy of Lacey Den Hartog

This week, the Clarion sat down with men’s soccer player Graham Smith.


Q: Where are you from?

A: Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

Q: How old are you?

A: 20 years old.

Q: What’s your major?

A: Finance.

Q: How old were you when you began playing soccer and what made you want to play collegiately?

A: I was probably around five years old. I’ve always been pretty good. One of my mom’s favorite stories is that at my first practice, I was getting after it [playing soccer]and the coach asked for my birth certificate. That was kind of the initial hint that I was good at it. I’ve always liked it and [I] stuck with it.

Q: How has the transition been from playing collegiately at Oregon State University to transferring and now playing for DU?

A: It’s been great. Coming out of high school, I always really wanted to go to DU and it didn’t really work out, but the transition here has really been great. The guys are super welcoming and everyone is so accommodating, [including]the professors and the academics, getting credits transferred in, helping with that stuff. Jamie [Franks] and the coaching staff have worked really hard to make it a smooth transition. I think coming in the winter helped also.

Q: Describe what it is like to play for coach Jamie Franks.

A: It’s awesome. It’s nice as a player when you have a coach who expects as much out of himself as he expects from the players. It’s really easy to bring it everyday because you see him doing the same, so you want to put in all the work.

Q: Losing center midfielder and former captain Jordan Schweitzer (Everett, Wash.) was a significant loss for the Pioneers entering this season, but you’ve really filled his position nicely. Knowing the impact he left behind, how have you stepped into that position?

A: Obviously you aren’t going to be able to emulate a certain player like that. He has things that he did better than I do and I have certain aspects of my game [that are better]. It’s really just about playing with the people around me. You can’t really try to fill that role. You just have to make it your own.

Q: So what is it like to play for a program that is making a name for itself at the national level?

A: Being a top-ten [ranked]program, everyone says that there is a target on your back. Everyone you play [against]plays their best because we’re one of the bigger games on their schedule. Generally that makes our rise even more impressive. It shows the level we have maintained and stayed at. Once you get the continued success that the program has had for the past couple years, there is definitely a vibe around campus and the community that we really take pride in.

Q: What are your aspirations for the future, both individually and for the program?

A: What makes this team so great is that we’re all on the same page, but this year our goal is a national championship. We have put in all the work and feel really good about what we have been doing as a team. The biggest thing for me is if I have an opportunity [to play professionally]and still have a love for the game, which Jamie [Franks] and the program have really brought out in me, then I am going to try to play for as long as I can.