This is the latest installment of We Are TFC. Every week, 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 Nick Hagglund. The Xavier alum was drafted by the Reds in the first round of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. We hope you’ll enjoy this series and let us know which TFC players you’d like to see profiled in the future.
Take a look at your phone, what photo to you means the most and why?
HAGGLUND: This picture of me and my wife. This was the wedding day, right after the ceremony. That’s the love of my life.
Has life changed extremely at all? Or have you guys not skipped a beat since you’ve been married?
HAGGLUND: I mean we dated for… six years. I think living together, we learned a lot about each other. I think you learn a lot, there were some quirks we learned about each other that were really funny and it’s things that people don’t know about her that I know about her but no, I feel like we’re the same goofy happy couple as we were when we were married.
Favourite Soccer player and why?
HAGGLUND: It’s Messi. He’s the best in the world. Can’t top him. And I think he’s just fun to watch.
As a defender, does it make you sick to see him just rinse people that frequently, with the ease?
HAGGLUND: Yeah but there’s a beauty to that as well.
What do you do when you’re not playing soccer?
HAGGLUND: I’m a big Marvel comic fan so I like reading comics, my favourite super hero is Spiderman so I’m big into that.
Have you read any of the Black Panther comics coming out recently?
HAGGLUND: No but I heard it’s really good! So I think I might dabble in it.
Who is the funniest player on the team?
HAGGLUND: Danny Lovitz. For sure.
This is like TEN people now. What is the secret?
HAGGLUND: Timing and I think it’s his one liners that come out at any moment. How he says it, how he delivers it is funny.
Any quirks or superstitions that you do before a game?
HAGGLUND: Eat chicken and pasta.
HAGGLUND: No, a little bit of sauce! Usually pesto on the chicken, a little bit of marinara on the pasta. I don’t like doing the same thing because during game time, anything can happen and I don’t want to psych myself out or have a superstition where if I didn’t get to do my ‘whatever’, that it would make me think of that.
What about teammates?
HAGGLUND: Beita has some serious stretch routines. He’s got a foam roller and band movements that are pretty intense.
You’ve been here for a while now, what’s your favourite moment with the club so far?
HAGGLUND: There’s been a lot. I mean for me personally I would say my first game in Columbus since Ohio is my home state. Getting that opportunity since Doneil Henry went down earlier that week and they threw me in the lineup so it was me, Bradley Orr, Steven Caldwell was out – it was just exciting to play in front of my home fans. I had like 80-100 people there.
Brad hadn’t played center back at all that season so…
HAGGLUND: That’s what I’m saying! We had a shutout there and to win.
When I say Toronto what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?
HAGGLUND: Honestly I think of Drake sitting on the CN Tower. That’s the most Toronto thing (laughs) but I think the summers here. Toronto in the summer is one of the best places to be.
When you got picked in the draft, were you apprehensive at all?
HAGGLUND: Yeah, I had been to Toronto one time. It was for a tournament when I was playing for the Columbus Crew U20 team and we made a trip out and we got so lost We had no idea. We were walking around Chinatown for what felt like hours. We were just so lost. I think we stayed by Dundas square.
So you were in the Spadina area?
HAGGLUND: Yeah. It felt crazy how big it was and I was unsure but when I came and lived here, I felt like it wasn’t as big as I thought. It’s kind of the best mix between the big city feel and the tight community feel.
If you weren’t a soccer player, what would you be doing?
HAGGLUND: Wow… If I wasn’t a soccer player. To be honest, I would love to be part of a small startup business where I could have my hands in all aspects of the business. I think the challenge and adventure to that would be exciting.
Who are your heroes?
HAGGLUND: Jesus Christ, my Saviour. Definitely my number one hero. My parents for sure, people I looked up to for my entire life and my friend, Alex Turvy who lives in New Orleans and is just a really good friend. Growing up playing soccer, obviously parents have to put a lot to that as well. My sister Jenna continues to be a big inspiration. I followed in her shadows in to professional sports.
How much did your parents help you get to where you are now?
HAGGLUND: Oh, there is no way I could pay them back for that. To think that they were driving me to soccer practices and my dad was my coach until I was 10 and my mom was always taking care of me and doing my laundry – which is always a mess, I went through like 4-5 pairs of clothes a day. I would come into soccer practice and leave. Go to basketball practice and do all these other things. I don’t think they thought I’d be at this point so to have this all culminate into a career – there’s nothing I can do. That’s years of time and their love and there’s nothing I can do to replace that.
What’s your ultimate goal?
HAGGLUND: In any situation that I come into, I’d like to leave it better than I found it and to love God and love his people and the people around me as much as I can.
If you can go back and tell 10 year old Nick Hagglund something, what would it be?
HAGGLUND: I’d tell him to calm down (laughs) relax Nick! I don’t know what I was thinking when I was 10 years old. I wasn’t thinking about anything really… I was always like “go to the next thing!” I’d say, stay the course. I think a lot of the times growing up you go through spurts where you’re confused and unsure and things aren’t going well and I think just stay the course and trust yourself and be confident in who you are.
I know the off season is a little far away but what is the plan?
HAGGLUND: Yeah, we’re going to try to go to Hawaii. I’m going to go home as well in Cincinnati and yeah.
Xavier making a run in March Madness?
HAGGLUND: Of course! Of course they will.