Tuesday, April 17, 2012

11 Questions: Heath Pearce (Chivas USA)


Heath Pearce - Chivas USA/USMNT Defender
(Courtesy of MLSsoccer.com)
There are occasions in life where you have expectations going into something and  you leave let down, depressed, crying yourself to sleep. This is not one of those occasions.

For a while now we have wanted to do an "11 Questions" interview with Chivas USA/USMNT defender Heath Pearce. We have followed the former @theHP3 on Twitter and his reincarnation as @HeathGPearce and have enjoyed his witty posts about life in So-Cal playing soccer for a living. When presented with the opportunity to finally do an interview with our favorite Chivas player, we jumped on it. But first, a little background information on the man with a thousand mustaches.

A product of Modesto, California, Heath was a two sport athlete in high school (which you will learn more about later) before moving onto the University of Portland where he earned All-WCC honors. His professional career first took him to Demark where he played two seasons with Nordsjaelland in the Danish Superliga. He then moved to Germany where he played with FC Hansa Rostock in the Bundesliga before finding his way back to the US and signing with FC Dallas in MLS. Last season Heath finally had a chance to get back to his home state when he was traded to Chivas USA where he currently resides as the starting centerback/leftback. With solid call-ups and playing time in 2008 for the US Men's National team Pearce has had played two matches under new head coach Jurgen Klinsmann with the goal of getting more in the near future.

Enough with the formalities, let's get to the good stuff. Wikipedia better get ready to re-write the entry on Heath Pearce after this interview. We present our "11 Questions" interview with HP3 and the penalty kick questions that followed!

1. South Africa had the Jabulani, Mexico had the Azteca, but what would you name the official World Cup ball next time it is played in the US?
That’s a good question, someone probably got paid a lot of money to come up with those names and I’m not getting paid anything to come up with this name. If I could name it anything, I would call it “The Mustache” or “The Bow Tie”

2. What sport would you be playing if you didn't play soccer?
I would probably be playing football. I was a kick back in high school for a while and according to a couple of website back at that time I was the top recruit in the nation for place kicking, so I would probably say football. My brother was a kicker in football as well, he was an all-American in college, so that’s the route that he went and that’s kind of the route that I went as well.

3. I don't always drink beer, but when I do I prefer ______? (favorite beer).
Man, that’s changed over the last few months since I switched to a yeast and gluten free diet, so I am very limited to what I can drink now, but prior to that I would have said Sol Cerveza or Great White. I actually was down in Manhattan Beach at a restaurant this last Sunday that was a good gluten free beer, it was a tweezen. It was good, I liked it. It’s like anything now with some of these health conscious decisions I am making with my diet you just have to convince yourself that it’s good, then obviously it starts to taste a lot better.

4. I'll give you the shirt off my back. Which opponent's jersey have you received following a match that you cherish the most?
I really cherish the jerseys of a lot of my friends I have played against in Europe and in MLS, but the biggest non-friend jersey I have is from Sergio Aguero when we (USMNT) played Argentina at Giants Stadium.

5. Justin Bieber might be coming to town, but who do you really want to see in concert?
Pearl Jam, Jack Johnson, but it seems like we are always on road trips when the good shows are in town.

6. Put me in coach. If you were coaching yourself as a player, what area would you tell yourself to focus on for improvement?
I would say to add a more physical factor to my defensive play. Obviously I have become center back in the last season, and that’s been the biggest adjustment, always having your presence felt physically. My speed helps to get me out of most of those situations and that’s something that I have leaned on for most of my career. If I could add another dimension of physical aspect I think it could take my game to another level hopefully.

7. Game day, 1 hour before kick-off, what's on in your headphones for motivation?
Well I’m the team’s resident DJ in the locker room, I usually put together some mixes for the team, but it’s usually some sort of house music or electronic music. Something that’s upbeat but kind of positive type vibe I guess. A little dub step, some house, electronic, some indie. Sometimes we throw on some mash-ups, all types of music blended together.

8. Team spirit. Who's your favorite sports team to cheer for outside of soccer?
I would say the San Francisco 49-ers, really all bay area sports teams with the exception of the A’s and Raiders.

9. Chance of a lifetime. Would you give up your soccer career if you had a chance to fly into space?
No, actually that sounds terrifying. That doesn’t sound exciting at all. I probably wouldn’t give up a pair of shoes to fly into space.

10. Have it your way. Whether at home or on the road, what fast food chain are you visiting?
All the ones I miss the most I never have when I’m living here now. I guess I would say a good pizza, like Round Table Pizza is my favorite bigger fast food place. That’s the bees knees.

11. Coming to a theater near you. Who would play the part of you in a movie about your life?
At this point since I am the director of this film I’ve got a lot of guys asking for the role, like Brad Pitt and stuff. I don’t know, Ryan Gosling is kind of a hot thing now, he could play me I guess if he got some good acting coaches and studied the role well. Maybe Brad Pitt or a young Steve McQueen would be great.

But that wasn't all Mr. Pearce had for us during the interview, he couldn't be contained by the standard "11 Questions", so we went to penalty kicks, the only fair and reasonable way to settle things. No easy headers now, we got right to the tough stuff, one-on-one, and Heath stepped up to the spot and connected.

PK 1 - Have you been asked to appear on "Glee" and if so, what song would you sing?
No, I have not been asked to appear on "Glee" with my sister (Lindsay Pearce), but hopefully somebody will get that idea trending on Twitter soon and try to create some momentum with that. If I had to pick a song, that's a tough one. It's hard because everything the do on "Glee" is just a smash hit. It would at least have to be a duet with my sister. I don't know, something up-beat? I'm stumped.

PK 2 - Now that the love affair between Bob Bradley and Jonathan Bornstein is over, do you feel your chances are better for more call-ups to the US Men's National Team?
Oh man! I think that my play is going to have to dictate that obviously. I've played two games under Jurgen and I was invited into the Mexican camp and I have enjoyed every bit of it. Now I am really focused on getting results with Chivas and we've come out with two wins out of the first five matches, which isn't great, but we are starting to build something which we feel is special here, so hopefully those results will lead to better play from everybody on the team, hopefully at the end of the day that will lead to a call-up to the national team. A good performance there would lead to more call-ups and that's the most politically correct answer I can give you.

PK 3 - When you're out on the town in LA, have you ever had to tell your mustache to dial it back a notch?
The mustache does have a mind of its own. I haven't brought the mustache out in 2012. I don't really think with the way the economy is and the way certain things are going in the world that the mustache is an appropriate thing to bring out right now. Maybe I'll wait until early summer, mid-summer and see where that takes me. I know that in South Bay the mustache gets me in toruble like here in the Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach area. In LA there's a lot more mustahces. There's people that are so far beyond in the hipster movement there that mustaches aren't cool with them anymore. They're like 10 years ahead of the curve, like they had a mustache 10 years ago when it wasn't cool 20 years ago. It's just so hard to keep up with the trends these days. Whenever the mustache grows in nice I rock it for a while and just try to stay out of trouble. <We vote to bring the mustache back; we're pro-mustache> Maybe we can get the mustache trending on Twitter or pin that on Pinterest?

PK 4 - We know you are on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but does HP3 do Pinterest?
No, somebody was telling me about that recently, but for some reason I get really hooked on certain things and I'm like very old school in that regard. I'm like, "what would I want Instagram for, I've got TwitPict." then all my friends are like, "no man, you've got to get on it." Then six months later, when the trend's dying I jump on it and I'm like "hey everybody" and no one's there anymore because they all moved to Pinterest or something. That's sort of the re-occurring theme in my life so maybe I can break that by joining Pinterest now.

PK 5 - Have you ever been confused for Brandon Flowers, lead singer of "The Killers"?
No, but somebody had posted a picture of it online at some point and it got to me, and it was pretty similar. I haven't been confused with him but I have been confused with Matt Bomer from the show "White Collar". I've never actually seen the show, but I've seen pictures of him and I don't see the resemblance.


You be the judge... (Pearce - Flowers - Bomer)
Thanks so much to Heath for taking time out of his busy day and training schedule to talk to us and best of luck to Chivas USA on the rest of their MLS season. Also a special thanks to Richard Castillo in the Chivas communications office for helping to coordinate the interview.

Want to see how soccer stars like Stuart Holden, CJ Sapong, Brian Ching, Andy Najar, and others answered our "11 Questions"? We've got a dedicated tab on our home page for all the interviews. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest articles and interviews.

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