Junior midfielder Josh Cooley has been a key contributor for Men’s Soccer this season. This past Saturday, his goal against Buffalo State helped the ‘Jackets improve to 5–0 on the season.

How did you get interested in soccer?

My mom has played soccer her whole life, so when I was growing up she got us into it, and I haven’t stopped playing since I was about 4 years old.

What do you enjoy most about soccer at UR?

Definitely our team culture. The team is such a close-knit group of guys in which everybody loves everybody, and I think that really is a big part of our success. We have a great time together on and off the field.

How have you grown as an athlete over the course of your collegiate career?

College soccer is a much different game than high school and club. It tests you mentally and physically and has made me a better athlete in all aspects of my game. Specifically, I think I have become stronger and much more confident over the course of my career so far.

What has been the highlight of your soccer career at UR?

The highlight of my career here at UR was definitely scoring the winning goal in overtime against Connecticut College last year in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before we made a great run to the Elite 8. There’s nothing else like scoring a goal to end the game.

How do you balance academics and athletics?

Being a college athlete has helped my time management skills a ton. I try to get ahead on work whenever I can so that I’m not struggling to complete an assignment during an away trip to Chicago, for example. I try to be very proactive about that.

Who has had the greatest impact on your playing career, and why?

My parents, no doubt, have had the greatest impact on my athletic career. They text and call me after every game, and my dad especially likes to tell me what I did well and what I can do better so that I continue to grow as a player. Being from Wisconsin, you might think they barely get to see any of my games in person, but you’d be surprised [by] the amount of times they make the journey to Rochester to come watch me. Their support is huge.

What are your expectations for this season?

Expectations are always high for the UR soccer program. We strive for excellence in everything we do on and off the field. On the field, we all expect the same and more than what we accomplished last year, but I won’t talk about that because we focus more on short-term goals, which would be winning our next game and taking it step by step.

Who is your favorite professional athlete, and why?

My favorite professional athlete is Eden Hazard. He plays for Chelsea FC in London and the Belgian National Team. As an attacking player, watching how Hazard can break down a defense with his dribbling, skills, and passing is amazing, and I try to break down our opposing teams like he does.

If you could be any TV show character, who would you choose to be and why?

Rick from “Rick and Morty.” Smartest guy in the universe that sounds pretty good.

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