This is the first installment of We Are TFC. Every Wednesday, we’ll sit down with one of the Reds and help you get to know them a little bit better, on and off the field. This week, Devang Desai chats with goalkeeper Clint Irwin, who came to Toronto this year after three seasons with the Colorado Rapids. A Charlotte, North Carolina native, Irwin is not only an accomplished footballer, he’s also an aspiring writer, who has had several articles published by The Telegraph in London. We hope you’ll enjoy this series and let us know which TFC players you’d like to see profiled in the future.
Taking a look at your phone – what picture means the most to you and why?
IRWIN: Well [last week] was my Dad’s birthday, so this is a photo of us at a park in Charlotte. I was probably three or four years old, but I remember this park and this moment.
They don’t build parks like they used to …
IRWIN: I’m pretty high off the ground, I’m surprised. It looks like I’m about to slip. I’ve got one foot on and one foot off and leaning back. I think my Dad knew that because it looks like he’s trying to hold me up. That’s probably the photo on my phone that means the most to me.
How would the people close to you describe you in one word?
IRWIN: In one word? Oh man. I have no idea. Shouldn’t you be asking them (laughs)? There’s so many words out there. “Laid back” is boring. I am laid back but I’m not "California surfer dude laid back."
IRWIN: (laughs) these all have negative connotations associated with it. I’ll go with calm.
What’s your favourite pastime?
IRWIN: I like to go camping as much as I can. I’ve been to Grand Teton National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park and the National Monument.
Favourite Soccer Player and why?
IRWIN: Growing up it was Steven Gerrard. I just liked the way that he played and the way he led his team. I was a Liverpool fan as well so he was my favourite player.
Was it weird playing against him?
IRWIN: It was the first couple times, but now I consider him as just another player in MLS.
The funniest moment of your life?
IRWIN: The funniest moment of my life? Man I don’t even know. I can’t even think of one. That’s a tough question.
What about your experience on the TTC streetcar?
IRWIN: It was fun. I was happy that I made it, I didn’t get lost and got on the right one.
Who is your best friend? Got any BFF’s?
IRWIN: Probably my two college roommates, Ben Lunka and Greg Mader. They were the two guys I lived with in college for four years. They’re both in North Carolina right now.
Any quirks, superstitions?
IRWIN: Not really. I normally just put on my equipment left to right. Left glove, right glove and left shoe and right shoe when I’m putting things on. I feel like that’s just a normal thing. It’s not like if I don’t do it I’m going to have bad luck.
Strangest quirks you’ve seen from teammates?
IRWIN: I’ve seen guys that have to make themselves throw up before the game.
IRWIN: My favourite movie? It’s always changing. I recently watched a miniseries called Carlos, which recounted the life of Carlos The Jackal. It’s kind of long but it’s really good. I also liked Snow Piercer.
How do you kill time during the offseason?
IRWIN: In the past I was in Colorado and just kind of hung out there. I was working out and trying to get up to the mountains on the weekend. I really didn’t do too much. I went back to North Carolina for the holiday season. It was pretty low key. It might be different this year.
Makes sense that you want to unwind and relax …
IRWIN: That’s the thing. It depends on how much you want to travel. I went to Las Vegas for the MLS players union meetings in December and made random trips here or there to see friends and family.
If you weren’t a soccer player what would you be doing?
IRWIN: I’d probably be a coach or something like that.
Okay, what if you were banned from soccer….hypothetically?
IRWIN:I’d probably start a business of some sort, something entrepreneurial.
Hillary or Bernie?
IRWIN: Bernie. Feel the Bern.
Your favourite moment with TFC thus far?
IRWIN: The first win against the Red Bulls. First game of the season, first win, clean sheet and my first start for the club. It’s been the only clean sheet this season [Ed's note: this interview was conducted before the 1-0 win against D.C. United]. Hopefully there’s many more, but that’s been the highlight.
Who are your heroes?
IRWIN:I didn’t really have many heroes growing up. I’d say I had more role models. My dad was a very good role model. My parents and some of the coaches I grew up playing with. My college coach, Darren Powell, who is now the head coach of San Antonio in the USL. It’s sort of a shortlist I guess.
What does your dad do?
IRWIN:He worked in the commercial tile business. He was always there, always supportive and just a good father.
Your ultimate goal in life?
IRWIN: That’s a big question. I read a book in college called the meaning of life. The book didn’t really reach a conclusion, but it said that in your life you try to find something that sustains you, but also something that you can never achieve. The example that they gave was stewardship of the environment, because the environment is always going to be there and you’re always going to have to do something to keep it going. It will sustain you because you can do it forever. It’s trying to find something to give your life meaning. I feel like soccer is part of that, but I don’t have one ultimate goal. What happens when achieve it? Is your life over? I haven’t set one ultimate goal.
Let us know who would like to see featured in the next We Are TFC!