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February 4, 2011 at 12:18 AM

A stop and chat with rookie midfielder Servando Carrasco

(How’s the down time going? Has there been any rookie singing or dancing yet?) “I have not done that yet. (laughs) They haven’t told me anything about it.”

(How have these first couple weeks been?) “So far it’s been an amazing experience. All the guys here are extremely talented. It’s definitely a higher level than what we came from, but it’s been an easy transition because the guys are so welcoming and so accepting. When you’re comfortable off the field it relates translates on the field. It brings the best out of you. Just a great group of guys, they make the young guys feel welcome. That’s really nice.”

(Was it surprising to see some people released from camp so soon?) “There’s definitely a competitive feeling just around. You have to fight for your position and earn the right to be here.”

(What do you make of all the comparisons to Osvaldo Alonso?) “It’s definitely quite the compliment, but I’m here to improve. I want to be my own player — even though I respect him and admire him. I feel like I bring something different to the table. I’m going to learn from him and also improve on other things.”

(Did you know much about him?) “I’d seen him play a couple times on TV. Then I came up here for a week in the summer and got to see him firsthand. There’s definitely some similarities in our game and things I can learn from him.”

(I saw Montero was tweeting pictures of your guys playing FIFA. Have you been adopted by the Latino group?) “Yeah, Fredy is actually my roommate and we made our room like the game room. We have FIFA tournaments every single day so there are usually six or seven guys battling it out.”

(How much is being bilingual a benefit with this team? Does it help?) “Definitely. I’m able to relate to all the guys from Latin America and South America, but it’s truly one team. It’s not divided. Everyone here gets along so well and it doesn’t matter if you speak Spanish or English. All the guys who speak Spanish are learning English, and I can help them out on that also.”

(Akron’s rookie class got a lot of attention before the draft, but Cal had a bunch of guys drafted too. Were you guys a little overlooked?) “(laughs) It is what it is. Akron won the national championship and they were a very talented side. I’m actually watching one of their ex-guys playing ping-pong right now, Steve Zakuani. But they deserved everything they got. We were good too though. It’s a testament to how hard we worked last year. It was great for the program that we got six guys drafted. It really puts Cal in the national spotlight.”

(Seems like those practices in college would have been competitive, is that helping now?) “Yeah, definitely. That’s one of the things both coaches have in common. Coach Grimes and Coach Schmid like to emphasize being competitive day in and day out. If you’re competitive in practice you’re going to be competitive in the game. That’s what brings the best out of everyone and here it has been competitive every day. You can see that we’re improving. It’s only been a week and we’ve improved so much. I can’t help but wait and see where we’re at in two or three more weeks.”

(Do you have Twitter? Because some people think you do, but I haven’t seen any posts from that account?) “I don’t have a Twitter. I mean I’ve heard I should get one, but I’m a little behind on the social networking.”

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