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Getting to Know Alex Straton
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 08/17/2010
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Photo Courtesy: Duke Photography
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The best part of my game is… My speed.  I feel like it’s the best part of my game because it’s a natural talent.  It’s not something you can particularly teach. Also, with the advantage of speed, a sloppier touch or misplaced pass can be made up for. 
I like my position best because… I like all of the positions.  Put me at defense, and I like to follow a girl around and anticipate the ball while it’s coming to her and then follow it up with an attack.  Put me at midfield, and I like to be the center of attention.  I like to run up and down and show what I can do in both arenas of skill.  Put me at forward, and I like to shield the ball, turn and burn people.  Really, there are so many different things in all the positions on the field that I like to do, but most of them involve beating an opponent.

The best place I have ever traveled to play soccer is… San Diego for the Surf Cup.  The fields, weather and competition level was like nothing I’d ever seen before.  And, I scored during one of the first games of the tournament when Duke was first recruiting me!

My first goal I ever scored was… Considering I don’t remember my first goal since I’ve been playing since I was three years old, I guess I’ll describe the one my grandmother always told to everyone.  It was my first season on a travel team in third grade, and we were playing indoor in Manassas.  We had worked on various finishing activities and had done a minimal amount with headers.  Taking a risk, I headed the ball into the goal.  It was the first header goal on the team, and the first of my career.  Apparently, according to my proud grandma, I was the only person on the field who knew what to do.

Over the summer, I worked on... using my speed to my advantage to improve my game.  Working on crisper, more exact touches, as well as better accuracy, when I combined it with my speed, I felt like I could beat anyone.

My favorite professional soccer team is... any team that has a big following.  If a team can inspire millions of fans to root for them, then I like to watch them.  I don’t have a particular team I like the best, but I do enjoy watching the skill of European teams.

I love the World Cup because... it’s a chance to see countries from all over the world in one place.  Also, it’s a chance to see the best in the world play everyday.  It almost unites people while watching, and ignites a care for the sport that’s not as strong in the U.S. as it is in other countries.

My best shot ever was... during my first game while being on the team with the VISTA Shockwave.  It was the semi-final round of the Jefferson Cup, and with only about 15 minutes left against PDA, both teams were exhausted from battling.  Over a mess in the box I haphazardly took a hopeful shot with my left foot, which went directly past the goalie into the left corner of the net, winning the game for us.

My favorite sport outside soccer ... is track and field.  I picked indoor track up for the first time during my junior year of high school, and it actually ended up getting me more accolades than high school soccer did.  I broke two school records, one in my first season and the other in the last, and was All-District, Region and State in multiple events.  It was fun to just run, because it felt like one of the most natural sports out there.

The person who has had the biggest influence on my soccer career is... my club coach Bob Childs as well as our team-mom-type, college-handling blessing Nancy Santiago.  Both of them supported me through my struggle to get looked at by major colleges and gave me the confidence in my ability that I hadn’t had before.  Both instructed me so well, and I probably wouldn’t be going to Duke without how they advised me.  Conveniently, Duke is Bob’s alma mater.

The professional soccer player's game I could best compare my game to is... Messi.  I’m not saying I’m nearly as good as he is, but he’s the player whose game I’d like to emulate the most.  The speed and movements he can pull off because of his speed closely simulate things that I hope to eventually be able to do.

My pre-game superstitions or rituals ... don’t exist.  I’ve never been the superstitious type, and I try not to count on things to improve the way I will play.  It doesn’t matter what time, what color, or what number I’m wearing, I count on myself to be ready as a ritual.

My favorite athlete outside of soccer is... Usain Bolt.  His ability in track and field is unmatched, and the fact that he can slow down in the last 5 meters of the 100 meter dash and still crush his opponents as well as world records is unbelievable.

If I could travel anywhere in the world, it would be... China.  I’ve learned so much about its history since such a young age that I feel ridiculous that I could know so much but have seen so little.  I really like history, and since China is one of the most ancient cultures and countries, I would love to visit it one day.

My hobbies outside of soccer are... swimming, boating, playing tennis and reading.  I pretty much like anything you can do outside and love to be outdoors.

My best talent other than playing soccer is... running track and writing.  In track and field, it’s a very different sport than soccer.  It’s a mental activity that requires individual focus and dependability.  I can’t rely on a team, unless I’m in a relay, to account for a bad performance.  It’s all on me and is sometimes a relief from playing a sport that can be as unfair as soccer.  Soccer seems like it can go either way between two great teams, but in track, I feel like the one that really deserves it generally gets it.

My favorite food is... sushi.  Not a lot of my friends and family like it, but it’s one of my favorite things to eat.

My favorite cartoon is... Family Guy.  It’s more of a mature cartoon, and I like the satire and sometimes randomness that’s incorporated in it.

If I could star on a reality television show, it would be... Survivor.  I don’t care if it’s the 25th season; I want to be on it!  I want to see what I could do in the wild, as well as what it’s like to live without common commodities for an extended period.  Also, the fitness and physical labor of it interests me.

A weird fact not many people might not know about me is... that I like to scrapbook.  I don’t have time to do it very frequently, but I literally keep so many little things from different trips or places I visit in hopes of eventually putting it in a scrapbook.  I started on one because I had to for a school project, and I intend on continuing it, that is, if I ever have more time.

My secret addiction is... soccer tennis and Twilight.  I played soccer tennis for the first time in a couple years this summer, and re-discovered my love for it.  I could play it all day, every day, forever.  Win or lose, I think it is one of the most fun games ever.  Regarding Twilight, I wouldn’t dub myself a true addict.  I’ve read all of the books and watched the movies that have come out, but it’s not like I buy shirts and posters and all that.  I do love it though!

If I could appear on the cover of any magazine, it would be... some type of fashion magazine like Teen Vogue or Vogue.  I love fashion and style, so anything involving clothes and putting outfits is right up my ally.

If I could spend three hours doing anything, it would be... doing anything outdoors.  I’d prefer to be outside to inside, so any activity that involves physical movement and being outdoors is what I would spend my hours doing.

The weirdest noise I can make is ... I can make a lot of weird noises.  The weirdest one is probably some type of yell.  I don’t think I have a name for the yell though.

My current ring tone is... the standard iPhone ring tone.  I try not to disturb others, or myself, with crazy ring tones. If I did have a ring tone, it would probably be some type of new song that just came out, which I would get tired of.

My favorite web site to visit is... probably Facebook.  This is probably the favorite of every other college kid, too.  It’s the easiest way to talk with my friends and see what’s going on with everyone.

My nickname is... Alex or Al.  Just shortened versions of my real name have typically stuck.  All through high school soccer I was referred to as Fresh because I was the only freshman on varsity, and it was funny because even when I was a senior other girls called me Fresh.

My can’t miss television show is... Degrassi.  I don’t care how old I am, or whether or not I should or shouldn’t be watching it.  I don’t watch it religiously, but I always like to see what’s going on.

My go to meal I can cook is... a bagel.  Bagels have the carbs I need to run around all day, and are really easy to make.

I started playing soccer at age... three on a co-ed house team in Morgan Hill, the town I lived in California. 

What I like best about Coach Church is... that he seems like a father figure.  Obviously, I haven’t played for him yet, but of all the coaches I met when looking for the perfect school, he seemed to be the most welcoming and gave off a fatherly vibe that made me feel comfortable at Duke.  He was always honest with how he felt about me and how I was doing.

Duke is the best place to play collegiate soccer because... not only is it a great academic school, but it’s a great athletic school.  It’s in the ACC, which houses the best competition in women’s collegiate soccer.  It’s pretty much an Ivy League school in the South, with great weather, and the ACC, with great soccer.