Junior midfielder Travis Cooke kicked off his third season with VCU soccer by collecting his first goal of the season and of his collegiate career against the University of Akron Sept. 26.
The Chesapeake native established himself as an active Rams player last season, appearing in all 19 games and tallying the first assist of his career in a win against George Mason University. The upperclassman has taken on a larger role in the VCU midfield this season. The CT sat down with Cooke to discuss his progress on and off the field.
What do you believe kickstarted your passion for soccer?
Success on the field at a young age. The game came so natural to me and when something comes naturally to someone, they begin to really enjoy it.
What made you want to play soccer at VCU?
I chose VCU amongst other schools because it seemed like the best road I could take on the journey to playing professionally. For almost a decade, VCU has played soccer the way it should be — the beautiful way, connecting many passes in order to tire out the other team to essentially walk their way to goal. That’s the way I love to play.
Another reason I chose VCU was because of what the coaches told me I should expect being a VCU player. They said I had a very high ceiling in regard to my potential as a player and that they would push to develop me in order to reach that mark. As a senior in high school with a dream of playing at the next level, all I wanted was to be able to play the game within a system that plays a dominant brand of soccer while continuing to improve and test my limits.
What is your favorite moment from your VCU career?
Beating No. 9 Maryland 3-0 at College Park. That was a huge game for us because it would help us later on in the season when we secured a top 16 seed for the national tournament. It also was a huge statement game showing that VCU is a team you should keep an eye on.
What is your favorite soccer team?
Manchester United and has been ever since I started watching soccer at a young age.
Who is your favorite soccer player?
Do you model your game after him?
I don’t model my game after Ronaldo. I like to model my game to Mario Mandzukic, a Croatian international who plays for Juventus in Italy. He reminds me a lot of myself physically as well as positionally. He is [a] tall, slender player as well, [who] is very good at using his size to his advantage. What separates him from a lot of players is how technical he is. Most players of his size don’t have the ability he possesses and I kind of see myself like that as well.
How do you want to be remembered after you graduate?
I want to be remembered as a player that contributed to the program moving down the road as we continue to rise in the national rankings.