Courtesy of UR Athletics

Freshman Michael Cross has had an immediate impact on the UR men’s soccer team since his debut earlier this fall. He has already scored a team-leading goals, two of which came in a 7-0 blowout win over Clarkson. The 5’10” native of Thornton, Penn. has seen playing time in five of the team’s seven games this year, including 65 minutes in the game against Clarkson. Cross has undoubtedly played a big role in the ‘Jackets hot start this season, and his strong play will need to continue for the team to keep its goal of a national championship in sight.

When did you start playing soccer?
I started playing soccer at age three when my parents enrolled me in a local toddler kicker-clinic. It has been my sport since then, and I haven’t looked back since

I started playing for my first travel team at the age of seven.

Why did you choose to come to UR?
I chose to come to UR for the amazing academic opportunity it offered and the competitiveness of the soccer team. After walking around campus on my official visit, I knew that this was where I wanted to go to school.

How have you adjusted to collegiate soccer?
Adjusting to collegiate soccer in the first few weeks of preseason was a challenge; the speed of the game was dramatically faster than the speed of club level I played at. It took some time getting used to it, but now I’ve definitely adjusted to the speed and physicality of the collegiate level.

What has surprised you most about being a college athlete?
I never fully understood the strength of the bonds that form between teammates. I’ve only known some of my teammates for a month, and some of them are already my best friends.

Who has been your best influence in soccer?
My best influence in soccer has definitely been my older brother, Ben. He always set a good example for me to follow. He’s 13 years older than me and an alumni of UR soccer. And he has always pushed me to excel at the sport and be the best I can possibly be.
How has Coach Apple helped you improve so far during your time at UR?
Playing under Coach Apple has been great. He pushes me everyday to be the best player I can possibly be, and I love how high of a standard he holds the team to. I am already a dramatically better player than I was when the season first started.

What is your favorite pre-game meal?
My favorite pre-game meal is pasta with marinara sauce, grilled chicken, broccoli, and Gatorade.

Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
Before every game I listen to the same playlist on my iPhone. I always take about five minutes to visualize the game I am about to play. I also put my gear on in a specific order; it’s a little ritual I started this year.

If you had to give one piece of advice to a high school senior hoping to play in college, what would it be?
You have to work hard on your own and put in the necessary hours to improve parts of your game that you don’t work on as much at practice. Also, watch professional games as much as possible; they make you a better student of the game.

Shapiro is a member of the class of 2016.

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