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Michael O’Keeffe, a junior at Fairfield University has just qualified to play in the Summer 2012 Olympics with the New Zealand Under-23 team, the Oly-Whites. The goalkeeper for the Stags soccer team (a campus heart-throb) spared a few minutes to chat about what it’s like to be him.
photo via Fairfield Mirror
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in New Zealand. I grew up in Blenheim, a small town at the top of the South Island. I went to High School at Marlborough Boys' College and for my 5th year (in NZ we do 5 years of high school) I moved to Christchurch and was a boarder at Christchurch Boys' High School
How did you wind up at Fairfield?
I wanted to come to the states in general as it allowed me to play soccer at a high level and understand what it was like to train everyday, just like the pros, but also gain an education at the same time. After I knew I wanted to do that I got in contact with coaches and Fairfield was one of them. I liked what Fairfield had to offer and after emailing and talking with everyone I decided it was the best for me.
What are the pros and cons of playing soccer at Fairfield University? Do you love it? Hate it?
I Love it. Just training everyday in a professional environment is great but nothing beats the banter between teammates and friends I've made from it.
Tell us about qualifying for the Olympics. What was your first thought?
Was a crazy feeling. A week on, I'm still riding on a bit of a high, its just crazy.
Do you have a life motto or mantra to live by?
Don’t really have a life motto, but I like to think that if I remain hardworking and humble anything is possible.
Does being from New Zeeland help with the ladies?
The novelty of the accent has definitely started a few laughs in class.
What comes next? (Give me a rundown of what your next year is going to look like).
I think one thing that I don’t want to be misunderstood is the team I was in enabled New Zealand under 23 to qualify for the Olympics and they will have to select another team for the actual Olympics.
With that in mind I plan on finishing the semester at Fairfield, while training hard and go back to New Zealand in May to try and make the team to go to London.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I would love to be playing professional either in America or Europe and then use my media Major to get into sports broadcasting and commentating.
Advice for fellow college athletes?
Hard work can get you anywhere.
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