NPSL Spotlight with Matt Wiesenfarth of Sacramento Gold FC
SoccerToday spoke with NPSL Player of the Week Matt Wiesenfarth in our latest highlight interview of the award’s recipients. The winner of this national honor is determined by a vote of media members from across the country. It is awarded every week during the regular season.
SoccerToday spoke with Wiesenfarth as we present our latest exclusive interview on the NPSL’s Mitre Player of the Week.
Diane Scavuzzo: When did you join your team?
Matt Wiesenfarth: I joined the Sacramento Gold during the week before their game versus Napa this season. That game was my first experience in the NPSL.
I grew up in Sacramento and always looked up to the Gold players because, before the Republic came around, it was the highest level of soccer in the area.
I really enjoy playing with such attacking minded players. It makes it easier for a forward to combine up top when the midfielders are always looking for it.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is your position?
Matt Wiesenfarth: I’ve always been an attacking player — usually in the middle as a nine or 10 but also out wide on the left.
I love the demand for creativity that comes with being an attacking player. I think that’s what separates the good players from the great ones. Being able to see the game a step ahead of everyone else so you can put yourself in the best position to score a goal.
Watching players like Suarez and Agüero, the types of goals they score are absolutely inspirational. They always seem to be in the right place at the right time.
Diane Scavuzzo: When did you first start playing soccer?
Matt Wiesenfarth: I first played when I was five years old on an U6 team. I think we were called the Jedi-Knights.
I was the first soccer player in my family so the whole thing was pretty new to my parents. When I was nine I moved up to a competitive team and then later joined the academy system at 15.
Diane Scavuzzo: Did you play collegiate soccer?
Matt Wiesenfarth: I wanted to stay close to home for college soccer so I ended up playing at UC Davis, about 25 minutess from my parents house in Sacramento.
Dwayne Shaffer was my coach over there and he really helped add a higher work ethic to my game. I owe a lot to the coaching staff at Davis and, to this day, I often head back over for trainings during my free time.
Diane Scavuzzo: What does it take to be an impact player?
Matt Wiesenfarth: I think the definition of an impact player can apply to many different positions on the pitch.
For me, anybody that shows up fully committed to the team values can be an impact player.
From a quality striker to an out-spoken substitute on the bench who spends 90 minutes encouraging his or her team. An impact player is someone who is passionate about winning and makes the players around them better.
Diane Scavuzzo: Please tell us about your coach — what is he like to play for?
Matt Wiesenfarth: Ruben is a great coach who always expects the best from his players. You can really tell he wants to win, but he also wants his players to succeed individually.
It’s an extreme pleasure playing for Ruben and the rest of the coaching staff. They are incredibly passionate about the game and they put in a lot of time and effort week in and week out. I’ve known them all for a long time, and I look forward to maintaining a close relationship after I move on from the Gold.
Diane Scavuzzo: What inspires you?
Matt Wiesenfarth: That’s a great question. I’m inspired every day by my teammates and friends who have made their way onto successful careers already.
To be a great player you have to be confident in your abilities, and I can find some confidence in knowing I’ve played with some really talented players throughout my life so far.
Diane Scavuzzo: What are your goals as a player?
Matt Wiesenfarth: My only goal as a player is to reach my full potential before I finish my career. I think something like that is easier said than done. A lot of players have a ton of potential but never pan out to be very successful in the grand scheme of things. I don’t want to be one of those stories.
I know I have a lot of work to do, but I feel like I’m only about 75% of the way there. I will continue to surround myself with the right people who will push me to unlock that final 25% and see where that can take me.
Diane Scavuzzo: Do you want to play in Europe or in the MLS?
Matt Wiesenfarth: I think it’s a little far fetched to say I want to play in Europe or even the MLS, but I think I have what it takes to get into the USL. I’ve trained with teams in the USL and know that I can play at that level given the opportunity.
I’ve been very up front with Ruben about my goals for the near future and he supports me 100% when I say I can play at that level. I look forward to getting an opportunity at some point with a second division team in the U.S. because I’ll be more than ready for it.
Diane Scavuzzo: If you could pick any super power, what would it be and why?
Matt Wiesenfarth: If I could choose a super power I would probably want to be able to fly. Nothing sounds better than going to the most beautiful places in the world and seeing it from a perspective that no one else has seen. Plus, it would be a killer way to take a girl on a date.
Diane Scavuzzo: Who is your favorite soccer team or player? Who do you root for behind closed doors?
Matt Wiesenfarth: My favorite player of all time is Ronaldinho. I grew up trying to replicate all of the skills he would pull out during a game, and I think it made me a more creative player.
Of current players though, my favorite is definitely Luis Suarez. In my opinion he’s the best striker in the world. The goals he scored while he was at Liverpool were some of the best I’ve ever seen. Almost every single one was world class. His movement off the ball is nothing short of genius.