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Interview with MLS Champ Todd Dunivant

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01.09.12 -_dunivant_mls_trophyLike a good wine, Todd Dunivant seems to be getting better with age. At 31 years old, Dunivant had arguably his best season as a pro. 2011 was a dream season for Todd and his LA Galaxy team. After winning the MLS Supporter’s Shield (league’s best regular season record), the Galaxy went on to defeat Houston Dynamo to capture the MLS Cup. Individually, Todd was named to the MLS Starting XI and selected by Soccer America as the top left back in MLS. And to top it off, Todd was inducted to the Colorado Rush Hall of Fame, joining the likes of Conor Casey and former coach, Dave Dengerink. After a month off, Todd is anxious to get back to LA to help the Galaxy defend their title.

 

Wes Hart, Director of Coaching Academy for Colorado Rush, had the pleasure of speaking with Todd about the 2011 season and life after pro soccer.

1. Congratulations on another MLS Championship! You’ve been on some pretty successful teams in your 9 year MLS career. How many MLS Cups have you won? Supporters Shields (best record in league)? US Open Cups?

I've won three MLS Cups (2003, 2005, 2011), two Supporters Shields (2010 & 2011), and one US Open Cup (2005).

2. Does this championship differ from the others in anyway? More meaningful? Less? Explain.

Winning never gets old, and in fact, it gets better. I won two championships in my first three years. I wouldn't say I took them for granted but they came so fast and furious that I was a little bit spoiled. Losing in the Final in '09 was very difficult to take but finally breaking thru again in '11 was the most satisfying championship of all. We were the Supporters Shield winners and were the best team all year long...and for three years running really. The Cup Final was at our home stadium in LA...we had everything to play for and the pressure was high, but we still performed and got the job done.

3. You received quite a bit of individual recognition this year (MLS Staring XI and Soccer America’s top left back). What was different about this year for you? Did you feel you played much better than previous years? Or did people just finally take notice?

It was a dream season for us as a team and for me as an individual. My year was indicative of our team's year as a whole...very consistent. We never had a major dip in form and the same goes for my year personally. I was healthy all year and available to start in every single game, in every single competition. I attribute a lot of that health to being an experienced pro. I eat better. I know when I need to scale back or accelerate my strength and conditioning program. I get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. All of these things add up over the course of a 10 month season. And on the field, I was more aggressive getting into the attack, playing forward, and playing positively. On defense, I got stuck in at every opportunity, I took my match up personally, and I was more vocal. Overall, I tried to take my game to another level and people took notice.

4. What does the future have in store for you? Will you be back in LA next year? How many more years do you feel you’ll play? What’s after that? Have you given much thought to your life after playing?

I'll be back in LA next year. It is always difficult to keep a championship team together so there will be a lot of moving parts to our team next year. That will be the challenge for all of us. I would love to play for another 4-5 years. I feel like I've gotten stronger as I've gotten older. I know my body better now and I know what it takes to be a successful pro. I'm living my dream, so I will play as long as I can contribute at a high level. After my playing career, I'd like to stay in the business side of things and move into management. I'm currently on the Executive Board of the MLS Player's Union and it is a good transition into the business side of the game. The game has given me too much not to give back. I want to stay in the sport and continue to grow the league and the sport in this country. The potential is pretty mind-blowing.

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